Sue environmentalists for Southern California fires?

Can environmentalists be sued for the Southern California fires? Should they be sued?

Simpson’s entire rant hinges on this single unsubstantiated lie:

Since her claim of responsibility is false, her claim for damages is without merit.

As noted in the Pit thread, Are environmentalists to blame for the extent of California fires?,a number of claims made against “environmentalists” are factually in error, several are deliberate lies, and the few factual statements made about the positions of environmentalists demonstrate that their policies (which had to be passed by the legislature representing all the people) had little effect on the courses of these fires.

And I’ll bet that many of those who support such lawsuits are also those who rant against “frivolous lawsuits.”

The older I get the more I realize that many people are just no damned good. In another thirty years I’m not going to be able stand anyone.

You gotta have a grudging “respect” for those conservatives and forest industry lobby folks who have pinned this on the environmentalists…in the same way one respects someone for carrying out a brillian bank robbery or murder. They have managed to:

(1) Pin on the environmentalists something that is not their fault thus making the public in general less sympathetic to them.

(2) Build support for legislation that essentially has nothing to do with preventing these fires but everything to do with increasing logging in the national forests.

This is crazy. Even if you could argue that the fires were made worse by environmntalist policy, no one forced these folks to build or buy homes where they did. Much of the terrain around the homes in souther CA is actually chaparral, which is a fancy term for scrub growth, and not trees anyway. I don’t think these guys have a leg to stand on, legally.

And if they were made worse by environmentalist policy, shouldn’t you be suing the people who actually passed the laws rather then the people who were pushing for them?

The only people who should be sued for our fires are the hunter who whot up a flare, the “two guys in a gray van” who played with matches, and the Marines at Camp Pendleton who held a live-ammunition exercise, all during one of the hottest, driest Octobers in recent memory.

I have heard reports that some enviromentalists and state officials had previously asked for federal funds to help clear the now-burnt areas of dead trees created by an outbreak of some beetle. They wanted the trees cut down before they caught fire! So maybe we should sue the federal govt for not helping take care of the land… but we all know the govt aint taking responsibility unless its something that makes them look brilliant.

I believe the OP misspelled “President Bush” as “environmentalists”:

U.S. Rejected Davis on Aid to Clear Trees

According to the news I’ve been watching, Gov. Davis asked FEMA for funds to create fire breaks, etc., six months ago.

FEMA told him to take a hike.

Fortunately, now that California has a Republican governor, the excus-- er, bureaucracy blocking that FEMA aid should get cleared in a jiffy…

Primary Factor: Ignition - of course.
Secondary Factor: Santa Ana winds

Actually John, some houses that burned down were adjacent to scrub and brush with little or no trees surrounding them and because of the Santa Ana winds, flames still got fanned up to 50 feet in the air (with just brush and scrub - no trees!), spreading embers downwind and downhill to nearby homes in an urban valley. If you had a modern house with stucco exterior and tile or concrete roof, it stood a great chance of not catching fire. But in San Bernardino (Elevation 1040ft.), some houses were built as far back in the 30’s with wood or stone/wood exteriors. A relative of mine lost his house because of this and his father who lived a block away saved his house by hosing down nearby eucalyptus trees in the middle of the night. Their houses were not near the forest (prob. about 2 miles away straightline distance) but near a dry creek bed with brush and scrub. I believe the fire closer to San Diego was very much the same situation. Those Santa Anas were a huge contributor to the lost homes. The dead trees were also a factor, but the winds were definitely the main factor. As soon as the humidity and cooler temps moved in, that changed everything for the better even though there was still more uncleared dead trees waiting to be burned or cleared.

As for the Old Waterman Canyon Fire, it was started by arsonists in the scrub and brush, not actually in the forest. If they tried to start the fire in the forest, it would take more effort to light a tree on fire rather than dry brush which is as easy as a cigarette butt being tossed.

As for not buying or building homes in the forest, I guess we should move everyone out of the forest in the whole country so this won’t happen again…hmmm.

Why should the good folks in Rhode Island pay for fire breaks to be built in CA? Then the folks in CA will end up paying for hurricane barriers in Providence. Unless we’re talking about something in a National Park, or some other land administered by the federal government, the states should take care of thier own issues.

I probably was a bit unlcear on that. Chaparrel does burn very well, and is a significant fire hazard. I only meant to point out that much of the terrain in question is treeless (in it’s natural state), so that talk about “clearing trees” is a bit off the mark.

Santa Ana winds blow pretty much every year in the fall. Hot, dry winds that are just perfect for faming flames. Anyone who lives out here knows all about them. Better have good fire insurance and use intelligent building techniques and materials.

I guess, then, the question we should ask is “What is FEMA’s role?”

Is it to just sit back, wait for a disaster to unfold, and then attend to it? Or is FEMA also charged with preventing disasters?

If it’s the latter, and if it is true that they told the governor to go piss up a rope with his disaster-prevention request, how should we assess FEMA’s nonperformance?

I believe I heard on CNN that when Schwarzenegger went to D.C. to speed up the request for assistance, there was a factoid that he mentioned that California receives only $.77 cents on the dollar for the ratio of return on disaster assistance. If that is true, I and the rest of California would be happy to keep our state issues resolvable with our own reserves instead of giving it to the Feds to manage.

Dude, that’s the worst editorial piece I’ve ever read. I can’t believe you posted that as a GD topic.

One sentence does not make a proper paragraph.

It looks silly to write one sentence paragraphs.

Similarly. One. Word. Does. Not. Make. A. Proper. Sentence.

Usually, when you write an editorial piece, you should avoid stating blatantly obvious things, and there should be at least a modicum of content.

With the amount of damage Ms. Simpson apparently did to the ozone from the copious hairspray used in that photo, she hardly should be complaining about anyone else causing environmental problems.

Fire is the Earth’s means of renewal.

It is ego-centric for man to believe that this type of fire is “under his control”. Certainly we need to attempt to control such events. But this type of fire is just as much a natural event as a tornado or a hurricane or a flood.

Can someone have set such a fire? Sure. Can someone be careless enough to produce conditions for such a fire? Sure. But if those conditions exist, a bolt of lightning will do the same thing.

Well, when you consider FEMA did not know how to handle the World Trade Center disaster, the Columbia Shuttle Disaster or the current large-scale fire disaster in Southern California, they did the only thing open to them - they asked for help.

FEMA is currently learning how to use the Incident Command System (ICS), developed and refined by the Forest Service to initially fight forest fires. Even before 9/11 and the creation of DHS, the Forest Service ICS program, along with the national incident command teams, were moving away from using ICS only for summer fighting and moving towards an all-weather, all-year, all-incident program.

Currently, only the Forest Service, along with other land management agencies trained in ICS, are capable of handling large-scale disasters. FEMA is way behind the eight-ball. And in my direct experience working with the FEMAroids, they are slow on the uptake.

If a major disaster strikes, the two organizations to call who are best suited to the task are the Forest Service and the Red Cross.