Letters to the Editor

Wildfires are complex

Your Oct. 20 headline “Experts: Fire, global warming link not supported” is highly misleading. The article quotes only a single “expert,” Roger Pielke Jr.

Pielke is a political scientist with an expertise in policy, not a natural scientist or climate scientist. His writings about the link between climate change and disasters such as wildfires and hurricanes have been lambasted by climate scientists for cherry-picking data and the misuse of statistics.

Pielke is entitled to his views, but he speaks for himself and does not by any means represent the views of climate scientists. There have been numerous, well-researched, peer-reviewed studies showing a link between climate change and wildfires in the West. U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell testified to Congress in June 2013 that the U.S. wildfire season lasts longer than it used to, thanks to climate change.

Wildfires are complex. Drought, land-use changes and past fire-suppression practices all play a role. But so, too, does a warming climate. We ignore this at our peril.

Randy Knight, Atascadero

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