Wildfires Rage As Trump and Co. Fiddle


While the southeast drowns, the west burns. But you’d never know about that from the national debate. Politicians have fallen about themselves to be the first, the loudest, the most patriotic supporter of those poor souls ravaged by Harvey and Irma. Yet there’s been little said about the wildfires. And only a couple days ago did Congress vote to up the firefighting budget in a bill tied to Harvey funding. And still, nobody cares.

About half a million acres have burned in Montana due to drought. That’s been costly. A couple thousand structures are threatened and countless hotshots and National Guards have fought and are still fighting them and two firefighters have lost their lives.

Seattle hasn’t had a proper rain since June (yes, Seattle, the poster child for rainy American cities) and it’s been about 2 months for Portland. Naturally, Washington and Oregon are flaring up. In fact, if you want to have some fun, check out this map of all the wildfires currently in the US. You’ll see a good portion of Oregon and Washington are burning. L.A. had to evacuate neighborhoods, covered extensively by the LA Times but made a byline everywhere else. Four Americans have died from the California wildfires, the same number of people as died in Benghazi; did you know that? They’ve gotta be Hillary’s fault too.

Utah’s air quality is so bad from the combination of these wildfires that people are being advised against outdoor activities and, really, other than SLC’s thriving theater scene and Park City’s foodie mecca status, what else is there to do there?

Sure, Houston is the 4th-largest city in America so Harvey democratically warrants the attention. But throw together wildfires in Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, the states of Montana and Wyoming and Idaho, Denver (whose air quality is also threatened) and that should warrant some attention, no?

But no. Not while journalists on the left are being assailed for being one-sided, interestingly by the unabashedly one-sided journalists on the right. And politicians in GOP-dominated DC don’t want you to know about this. Because California, Oregon and Washington are liberal bastions, as is the red-cum-blue state of Colorado. Yet Utah has been the state leading the charge for states reclaiming public lands and these fire outlays will end that pretty damn quick. They’d be bankrupt in a year if they eliminated Federal stewardship. That’s what the Bundies and their supporters just don’t understand: your whole “free” way of life comes at huge cost to US taxpayers. Especially when it comes time to extinguish those wildfires.

The Forest Service/Interior have spent $2.1B so far on firefighting, already eclipsing annual costs for 2015, which up to now had been the most expensive wildfire season on record. Look for local pols to quiet on state ownership for a beat; at least until next election season.

And then there’s the science aspect. When you have one historic disaster of any type, it’s bad luck. When you have two only two years apart, it’s like a few century hurricanes in half a decade: a sign of a new normal as to our poorly-treated natural world.

The reason this can’t be discussed, can’t be promoted, can’t be made into tweets about why “libtards” don’t support America and shining-horse Trumpers do and Obama was golfing during 9/11 is that it doesn’t fit the agenda. Storms and wildfires are natural; historic droughts and hurricanes annually are not. They seem to line up with the myth of global warming, the idea that our exacerbation of climate change brings on erratic weather, like how here in the Tetons how we had a dry, hot May and June and July and just a couple sad rainstorms in Augusts.

The Trumpkins want to discuss whether children should answer for the sins of their fathers because their skin is brown but don’t want to discuss how mother nature has turned into a bipolar madwoman on a meth binge.

They want to talk about how we have nearly $60 billion to spend on a wall to keep out people who are known for using tunnels and of course to justify such foolish spending would mean we have to ignore the fact that we need to restructure funding for wildfire prevention. The GOP stands for fiscal responsibility and self-reliant nonfederalism, no?

They want to debate religious freedom for Muslims and shut down debate about religious overreach when it comes to Christians.

To use disasters as a political tool is the lowest depths of scumbaggery, a foul tactic only a soulless man or woman would ever embrace (naturally all the schlock neo-rightists blew up twitter with anti-Dem sentiment before realizing that even their lemmings were a bit put off by political bickering while people were still in the drink). But to refuse to learn from something, much less address the real culprits, is asking for our own destruction. I don’t want to destroy this world. I want it to exist long enough for my son’s children to save this world. And the first step is to address this weather crisis this as a united nation, to replace all the failures and self-serving greedheads and doubletalk politicos with the voices of those of us who believe in facts and debate, and to move forward.

But first, you need to realize something — half of this country is on fire. And because it incinerates some closely-held rightwing beliefs, you’re not being told how horrible it is. Today, despite being the information era, we have to seek out the truth. Acknowledging the burning is just step number one.



Ryan Ariano

Born and raised in Baltimore, Ryan has been kicking around the west since the first Clinton White House. Having worked all over SoCal in the surf industry, Hollywood, marketing, journalism and finance, he now hangs his hat just outside Jackson Hole where he can fulfill an addiction to ascending and descending mountains.

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