I was disheartened to see the poorly researched Los Angeles Times article “Experts: Fires, global warming link not supported” appear in The Tribune (Oct. 20). The article’s “expert,” Roger Pielke, is one of a small number of scientists who doggedly deny anthropogenic global warming at every opportunity. In this case, Pielke blames the increased severity of forest fires on years of forest fire mismanagement, i.e., fire suppression.
However, the U.S. Forest Service recognized the problems with fire suppression and changed its policy in 1970. For the past 45 years, forest fires were allowed to burn wherever human life and property were not endangered. Thus, the fires we now experience are because of something other than this historical suppression policy. Current scientific observation indicates that global warming is creating conditions that are turning our forests into tinderboxes (“X-ray technology reveals California’s forests are in for a radical transformation,” L.A. Times, Oct. 22). These conditions include the expanding area of pine bark beetle destruction; dry, hot temperatures that are stressing and killing more trees as stored moisture is depleted; and a significant lengthening of the fire season because of the changing seasonal climate patterns.
Sharon Rippner, San Luis Obispo
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