On Fire, Once Again …

Just like last year and the year before, wildfires are raging out of control in the Western states such as California, Oregon, and to a lesser extent, Washington.  One such in Oregon has been named the Bootleg Fire, presumably for the shape of the path of destruction it is leaving.

By now, there can be no doubt … NO DOUBT … that these fires are as a result of humans’ complete disregard of the environment for more than a century, leading to what we now know as ‘climate change’. However, the people in a swath of towns along the fire’s likely trajectory remain deniers of man-made climate change.  Though urged by fire officials to evacuate the area, despite having to spend days and nights under a thick blanket of smoke, water down their yards and watch the wind for signs that the flames may be shifting, they are adamant that their god is protecting them and will continue to do so.  I am reminded of that age-old joke …

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

Says one resident of Sprague River, Oregon, a young pastor named Matt Wolff …

“We prayed a lot, ‘Lord, just keep it away.’ And so far it stayed that way.”

According to an article in The Washington Post

The West has been beset by historic drought and heat waves this year exacerbated by climate change, but among the small towns that have been threatened by the Bootleg Fire — Sprague River, Beatty, Bly — there is little talk of global warming. Instead, residents vent about the federal government’s water policies and forest management. They blame liberal environmentalists for hobbling the logging industry and Mexican marijuana farmers for sucking up the area’s water.

A classic case of “Shoot the messenger”?  Another local, Jim Rahi, opines …

“Now the top end of the Forest Service are a bunch of flower children. That’s what the real problem is. It’s not that much hotter. It’s environmentally caused mismanagement.”

Oh yeah, blame the people trying to fix the problem, trying to save lives.

Scientists agree that climate change driven by the human burning of fossil fuels has raised the Earth’s temperature an average of about 2 degrees Fahrenheit, a warming that has led to more frequent and extreme natural disasters. Some 800 people died in the recent record-breaking heat waves in the Pacific Northwest and Canada.

About 70 percent of Klamath Count where the Bootleg Fire is raging voted for the former guy last year, and residents often echo his skepticism on the topic.  The thing that puzzles me is … these aren’t bad people … many have volunteered their days at community centers and fairgrounds packing up produce and canned goods to distribute to those displaced and now sleeping on cots or inside churches.  No, they are not bad people, not evil, but ever so close-minded, unwilling to consider facts that may be beyond what they know of the world thus far.  It is one thing to be ignorant, meaning not to have or know the facts, but quite another to be stupid, to deny the facts even when the evidence is singeing your back door and likely to take the lives of your family while you point fingers at all the wrong people.

With over 220,000 acres burned thus far, the Bootleg Fire is the largest in North America at the moment, though fire season lasts another two months.

On Wednesday evening, a few dozen Sprague River residents gathered at the community center for an update on the situation, as the arrow on the fire meter outside pointed to “extreme.” Men and women openly carried pistols on their belts; one man wore a cutoff T-shirt that read “Protected: The Right to Bear Arms.”  So … WHAT???  Do they think they can shoot the fire out??? Or maybe they will find somebody else to blame and shoot them?  I shake my head in disgust that now, at a time when their homes and livelihood, their very lives are endangered, they’re more concerned about their guns and their “right” to carry them wherever they go, to use them to intimidate others.  Welcome to the United States of America, a nation I once thought I knew but now realize I never did.

My heart goes out to all the people in the areas that are affected or threatened by wildfire this year, and I hope they all keep safe, but I would urge them to use those brains for something other than keeping their skull from caving in and heed the warnings to evacuate.  And for the rest of us … not just in the U.S., but around the world … it’s obviously well past time for us to take the environment seriously, to stop driving gas guzzling cars wherever we go, to turn the thermostat down, to turn off the lights, and to support government policies and politicians who are working to protect and repair the planet rather than those who are still living in a state of denial.  If we don’t, we may live to see the world burn down around us.

36 thoughts on “On Fire, Once Again …

  1. I reside in southwestern B.C. (Canada), and the unprecedented heatwave a few weeks ago, described by meteorologists as more of a stalling “heat dome” phenomenon, left me feeling I would never again complain about the weather being too cold. A Metro UK online piece was telling local readers their internet signal may be disrupted by the extreme heat. I say to them, worry much more about your health, or even life, getting disrupted than the temporary loss of access to your favorite social media platforms, etcetera. …

    Clearly there has been discouragingly insufficient political courage and will to properly act upon the cause-and-effect of manmade global warming and climate change. ‘Liberals’ and ‘conservatives’ are overly preoccupied with vociferously criticizing one another for their politics and beliefs thus diverting attention away from the planet’s greatest polluters, where it should and needs to be sharply focused. (Albeit, it seems to be the ‘conservatives’ who do not mind polluting the planet most liberally.)

    To me, general human existence has for too long been analogous to a cafeteria lineup consisting of diversely societally represented people, all adamantly arguing over which identifiable person should be at the front and, conversely, at the back of the line. Many of them further fight over to whom amongst them should go the last piece of quality pie and how much they should have to pay for it — all the while the interstellar spaceship on which they’re all permanently confined, owned and operated by (besides the wealthiest passengers) the fossil fuel industry, is on fire and toxifying at locations not normally investigated.

    But there’s still some hope for spaceship Earth and therefor humankind due to environmentally conscious and active young people, especially those who are approaching/reaching voting age. In contrast, the dinosaur electorate who have been voting into high office consecutive mass-pollution promoting or complicit/complacent governments for decades are gradually dying off and making way for voters who fully support a healthy Earth thus populace.

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    • It confuses me, too, but I’ve concluded that they are climate deniers for the sake of their convenience. One former friend told me that she would continue driving her gas-guzzling SUV and eating beef every night because “God wants me to be happy.” You really can’t argue with people who are so steeped in myth, who are so selfish that they believe their own convenience is more important than people’s lives. Sigh.

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  3. I wonder why Matt Wolff prayed to the Lord to keep it away instead of praying Lord Please put it out so a lot more areas are saved as well. Scientists have been saying for years that Global Warming will start and this is how it will go. It’s ridiculous that people won’t accept the truth now the proof has finally arrived. And while I don’t say that Mexican marijuana growers may not be sucking up some water somewhere it can’t happen everywhere there’s a fire.
    As for people saying it’s not Global Warming because it’s only a couple of degrees hotter, Paper bursts into flame at Fahrenheit 451 (Thanks to Ray Bradbury) but it doesn’t at Fahrenheit 450 which is only one degree less. Everything has a point where things are more dangerous than they would be a little cooler. Perhaps if we called the scientists Fortune Tellers people would take them more seriously. Hey Pa, that fortune teller at the State Fair said there would be big fires here this year, d’ye think that’s what all this danged smoke is. Are the porkers OK, I smell bacon.?
    Cwtch

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    • An excellent point you make … why indeed? Apparently his own needs are the only ones he cares about, not those of his neighbors. Surprised? I’m not. Yes, the scientists began sounding the alarm a couple of decades ago, but did we listen? Nope. And then about a decade ago, the alarm bells got louder, more and more scientists began ringing those bells, and still we didn’t listen. So now … now when we are seeing the results of a century or more of neglect, we look around and blame … marijuana farmers??? Their crops likely use less water than Matt what’s-his-name uses for his daily showers!

      You’re quite right … there is always a straw that broke the camel’s back, a ‘tipping point’, and it may well be that we have reached that point, that we have passed the point of no return. Would that we could geographically divide the world between those of us with both brains and consciences and those lacking both, let the fools who put their own convenience and pleasure ahead of all life on earth drown in their own rubbish and let the rest of us try to repair the damage, preserve the ecosystems, grow trees and learn to live as one with nature instead of destroying it. Sigh. Some days I’m glad I’m old.

      Cwtch Mawr

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  4. Elsewhere, the effects are different. From Wikipedia:

    “Since 12 July 2021, several European countries have been affected by catastrophic floods, causing deaths and widespread damage. The floods have affected several river basins, first in the United Kingdom and later across northern and central Europe including Austria, Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy. At least 192 people have died in the floods, including 159 in Germany, 31 in Belgium, 1 in Italy and 1 in Austria.”

    Hopefully residents in those places aren’t as stupid as those you have quoted. I saw Chancellor Merkel on tv news earlier. She looked shocked and shaken by what she was seeing. Governments need to reinforce whatever they are doing to combat climate change, whether or not their people are intelligent enough to understand the problem.

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    • Yes, and I should have mentioned the flooding on your side of the pond … I meant to, but by the time I finished my ranting, I guess I had simply forgotten to mention it. My friend Michael lives in Germany and I’ve been worried about him, but he assures me he is safe. Oh Clive … we humans have made such a bloody mess of it all … I honestly think the human species deserves the extinction they are bringing upon themselves, but the other species they are also dooming DO NOT deserve it! Sigh. Meanwhile … people are busy complaining about the price of gas (petrol) without another care in the world. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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          • Judging by the look on Merkel’s face on Sunday she had definitely got the message if she hadn’t already. Others need to follow. But people are stupid: there’s a photo in the Guardian today of a mass protest yesterday against lockdown, on the day it largely came to an end. Go figure!

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            • Yes, I read that she was devastated. I like Angela Merkel … I’ll be sorry to see her go. Yes, others need to follow, but … intellect seems to be in short supply these days … perhaps part of natural evolution is that people’s brains are getting smaller. Ah yes … the lockdown did end yesterday, which I think was likely premature … no wait … I take that back … I would bet my life’s savings (all $30 of it) that it was premature, given the spread of the Delta variant. Here, the Mayor of Los Angeles ordered a city-wide mask mandate, even for vaccinated people — which makes perfect sense to me, given the number of people who are protesting the vaccine and the rise of new cases and new deaths in the past few weeks. However, the Sheriff said he will NOT enforce the mask mandate. So, how many more must die? Sigh. I’m so tired of blatant stupidity and selfishness.

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              • So will I. She has been a voice of reason and a source of stability for Europe, not just Germany. I think it’s only a question for us of ‘when’ the next lockdown begins, not ‘if.’ When you have elected officials disregarding sensible instructions there isn’t much hope for sanity, is there!

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                • Yes, she certainly has. I agree … and I think that logically the U.S. should be returning to shuttering of non-essential businesses and mask mandates (we never had a true lockdown ala what you guys had), but there is so much resistance … people are so damn stupid! No, my friend, I think there isn’t much hope for sanity these days on either side of the pond.

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                  • The problem there as I see it is in mandating any controls – can that be done at a federal level or is it at state level? If the latter, it will be driven by the politics of ‘no’ and the morons will carry on being stupid. Here our daily rate of new infections is 40% higher than this time last week. No one in their right mind would think that a good time to unleash the dogs of freedom – but our prime minister isn’t in possession of a right mind.

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                    • It is done at the state level, which is why you have some states, like Florida, that eschewed the mask mandates early on, while others kept them in place until last month when the CDC said it was no longer necessary. Our daily rates of new infections have spiked, similar to yours. With fully 30% or more of the population refusing the vaccine, it’s a recipe for disaster. And, there is another new variant on the horizon, I believe. I was incensed when I heard, a month or so ago, that Boris said the restrictions were to be lifted on July 19th and he didn’t care if bodies started piling up. Sounded to me just like something I would have expected Trump to say. I’ve never been a fan of Boris, but until recently I thought he had a little bit of sense, of decency. Apparently not.

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                    • I can see how it gets confused, and I’d put money on the states which refused to mandate masks having GOP Governors.

                      That Johnson quote isn’t new: if dates back to last year, but has been in the news because it was recently revealed by Dominic Cummings as part of his revenge act for being sacked by Johnson. Johnson is devoid of sense or decency, which is why some of us – like me – describe him as Trump’s Mini-Me. But our wise electorate voted him in…

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                    • Gosh, Clive … you must be psychic!!! Indeed, they are all states with Republican governors!

                      Oh, I thought Johnson just said that last month! Well, either way, it was horrible. What are your thoughts on the firing of Cummings? I rather liked him — what little I read about him. Ah yes, your ‘wise’ electorate is like ours … sigh.

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  5. Jill, watching a NASA expert this morning on CBS Sunday Morning News the droughts in the western US have been made worse by climate change. But, what does he know, he is just tracks data as a scientist and we know the former president’s gut instinct is smarter than a scientist’s brain because he told us it is.

    Right now, the lake level behind Hoover Dam is 140 feet lower than it is supposed to be. The scientist (I will still quote him) said it will take ten years of better than average snowfall to bring levels back which is unlikely. We are past a tipping point. Yet, we have one party who would rather talk about critical race theory or some other wedge issue they made up to scare white people. Messers. McConnell, McCarthy and Trump, if you want to scare people how about telling them we are running out if fresh water. The farmers are worried why aren’t you three dudes? Oh, yes I know, the fossil fuel industry paid you for your silence. Keith

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    • “Welcome to the United States of America, a nation I once thought I knew but now realize I never did.”

      The same Americans that wrote the screenplays for the latest Star Wars trilogy? Now I know how that snafu could have happened.

      Liked by 1 person

    • One line in your comment literally sent chills up my spine: “We are past the tipping point”. We were warned, we have been told for two decades at least, but did we listen??? NO, we did not! And now? The western U.S. is on fire, while much of Europe is under water. And still, the masses believe what a madman and his cronies tell them to believe. And they tell them what to believe, as you say, because they are paid by the wealthy fossil fuel giants, to say that the 97% of scientists world wide do not know what they are talking about. McConnell, McCarthy and Trump should have to go to Oregon and help fight the fire on the front lines, then explain to the people where there homes, trees, family pets, and food supplies have gone! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

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