The California Wildfires
By Todd Strandberg
The wildfires that have raged through Northern California have caused at least $1 billion in damage to insured property. The fires killed over 42 people – marking the greatest loss of life from a single fire event on record in California, surpassing the 29 deaths from the Griffith Park fire of 1933 in Los Angeles.
It will take months to finalize the total insured losses from the fires. Insurers have so far found that there were 4,200 partial residential losses, 7,200 total residential losses, 1,000 commercial property losses, and over 3,000 auto losses. It is stunning to have over 8,000 structures destroyed in that state. The cedar fire in 2003 had the previous record with 2,830 structures destroyed by fire.
A couple of weeks ago, I was in Oklahoma City at the Blessed Hope Prophecy Forum, and one of the speakers talked about how California environmentalist policies have compounded the fire damage. He said lawmakers don’t allow for the removal of dead trees and brush that would have helped prevent the fire storms that consumed all those houses.
It is true that leftist rules on logging have provided more fuel for the fires, but we’ve had this problem for decades. In 1988, a large portion of Yellowstone park went up in flames. There has not been a major fire in the park since because the forest will take many decades to grow back to the pre-1988 density.
There is something very odd about this year’s fire that defies all other growth or drought explanations. The current fire season has burned less acreage than many recent years, and yet, it has been the most destructive. Historian Stephen Pyne noted, “It’s no longer just the case that we’re building homes where the fires are. The fires seem to be going where the houses are.”
In 2012, when the largest single fire in California’s recorded history burned 315,000 acres, only a single barn was damaged. During an average fire season, fires will burn in the high mountains for months without coming anywhere near populated areas.
Only a small portion of California’s 104-million-acre landscape goes up in flames each year. When 1,375,781 acres were burned in 2008, the most ever, that number was less than one percent of the state’s total land area.
It is incredibly strange to have fires cause so much destruction and loss of life over such a long period of time. I’ve looked at years of records for California fires, and most of the great fire events are single events that last one to two days. This month’s blaze had five notable fire events that devastated property for a solid week.
Lately, I’ve noticed that nearly every occurrence of a natural disaster has had some form of extreme classification. The most recent, Hurricane Ophelia, marks the 10th consecutive Atlantic-named storm to become a hurricane in 2017. This ties the record for the most consecutive Atlantic-named storms reaching hurricane strength, which last occurred in the 1800’s, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University tropical meteorologist.
The press has almost zero interest in why we are having so many disasters. Every time one occurs, they devote an increasingly smaller amount of time reporting on it. They don’t care about the welfare of the American people. Their main focus is on attacking Trump.
The worst type of disaster a property holder can experience is fire. When a house is flooded, there are many things that can be recovered when the water recedes. When a home is consumed by flames, there is nothing to claim but ashes. When I saw block after block of homes destroyed in many of those California cities, I could only think of how the rapture could deliver a believer from such a dreadful event. With natural disasters becoming a regular occurrence, the “blessed hope” is our only remedy from future calamity.
“For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thess. 4:16-18).
“Waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).