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Justin Rowlatt’s Fake Californian Wildfires Report

November 12, 2021

By Paul Homewood


The lies are coming thick and fast from the BBC this week: 





Before European settlement, several millions of acres burned every year, and large parts of the state were open parkland.

It was systematic fire suppression in the modern era, which has led to the build of combustible undergrowth and crowded forests which is now responsible for the giant conflagrations we now see, not climate change.




California Dept of Forestry & Fire Protection

Although rainfall in California has been particularly low this year, similarly dry years occurred in 1924 and 1977, and there is no trend to the state becoming drier:



And in the longer scheme of things, California’s climate is colder now than most of the time since the Ice Age, as evidenced by upper tree lines in the White Mountains:


HH Lamb: Climate, History and the Modern World



All in all, this is an extremely shoddy piece of reporting by Justin Rowlatt, who evidently is the BBC’s go to guy for climate disinformation.

  1. Harry Passfield permalink
    November 12, 2021 4:13 pm

    I guess he must have studied under that other go-to climate change expert, Ed(stone) Miliband.

  2. Steve Ballenger permalink
    November 12, 2021 4:15 pm

    I grew up in the coastal redwood forests of California. You can see evidence of previous fires, with charred bark and even the occasional burnt trees. The redwoods are much beloved and are terrific targets for alarmist. This is fear mongering, nothing more. Remember, the vast majority of fires are caused by people.

  3. November 12, 2021 4:32 pm

    The way the MSMedia report CC is more like lies than honest opinion.
    Surely the BBC at least has an imperative to stick to balanced informed presentation.

    Their record in this field destroys confidence and makes one incredulous of their reliability.

    • mjr permalink
      November 12, 2021 5:21 pm

      if i read a BBC weather forecast i look out of the window to check. I do not trust a thing that they say. They have long since given up any pretence of being a objective. They are now a lobbying organisation that occasionally makes a few tv programmes

      • November 12, 2021 8:02 pm

        There’s nothing wrong with the daily weather forecasts

      • roger permalink
        November 12, 2021 10:27 pm

        You are obviously not responsible for putting out the washing in your household.

  4. Cheshire Red permalink
    November 12, 2021 4:36 pm

    1. Fake attention-grabbing headline attributing ‘climate change’. Check
    2. Dramatic photo to pull the heartstrings. Check.
    3. Attribute climate change several times within the article to reinforce the message. check.
    4. Emote! ‘Tearful’ female guide bursts into tears. Check.
    5. Obviously don’t forget to be ‘fearful’ for the future. Check.

    HOUSE!!! That’s today’s climate change BS bingo card successfully completed. Everyone a winner.

    PS; under no circumstances offer any evidence, historical context or actual data that contradicts unjustified climate hysteria.

  5. Cheshire Red permalink
    November 12, 2021 4:38 pm

    BTW BBC 5 Live had a full-on climate-fest cry-a-thon earlier today, hosted by Dame Nicky Campbell. Vegan this, stop meat that, change behaviour the other. Unlistenable radio.

  6. November 12, 2021 4:38 pm

    Just reading some of the articles from the BBC make me laugh, or is it cry. One for example, “But climate campaigners say fossil fuel companies are using the promise of having carbon capture technology in the future to avoid having limits put on their emissions in the present.”, yet wasn’t it the climate brigade who wanted CCS??

    • Cheshire Red permalink
      November 12, 2021 5:55 pm

      UK government offered a £1 billion prize at least twice iirc to any UK company able to crack CCS. The money remains unclaimed as nobody has invented a viable or scalable CCS system. Revealing!

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      November 13, 2021 7:50 am

      A very large percentage of Alarmists simply hate oil companies. Their claims are simply unhinged, no better than witch-burning in their logic.

      • StephenP permalink
        November 13, 2021 8:11 am

        TrrumpDS has been replaced with FFDS.
        When listening to / viewing any programme on CC its amazing how often I find myself shouting at the radio/TV “no, you’ve got that wrong!”

      • November 13, 2021 10:06 am

        What logic?

  7. TonyN permalink
    November 12, 2021 4:40 pm

    I am amazed at her ignorance. Sequoia pine cones require to be burned in forest fires before the seeds will germinate.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 12, 2021 9:51 pm

      If you’re on twatter/face please tell Rowlatt. And then tell us his response.

  8. November 12, 2021 4:49 pm

    I see Rowlatt with no scientific background doing his bit saving the Planet by flying everywhere around the world – I wonder what his travel footprint is and does the Beeb buy carbon offsets. I suppose like Boris he does not do “details” which objective jurnos seek

    His sister is doing her bit gluing herself to roads and being a nuisance.

    • Adam Gallon permalink
      November 12, 2021 5:01 pm

      His sister’s one of the Insulate ecoloons.

    • Jordan permalink
      November 12, 2021 9:42 pm

      Flying around the world …. in the last week, Rowlatt stood opposite BoJo in the UK for that emotional appeal not to open a coal mine, then did a live stream from Alaska, and now from California.
      No doubt excused by some claim of purchasing offsets, such as planting trees.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 12, 2021 9:53 pm

      Is she sticking herself with it (the glue), or sniffing it?

  9. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 12, 2021 5:07 pm

    The lead feed on the pressure for a COP agreement on the BBC barrage of idiocy is a lie.

    “16:40 ‘We are literally sinking’ – desperate plea from Tuvalu”

    The lie is so bad even the fact checkers can’t cover it up.

    The whole COP process is being pressured by itself into action by a lie they all know is a lie, by a country that just wants an excuse to be given free money – our money.

    You would think such an egregious fraud might trigger some investigative MSM curiousity? LOL.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 12, 2021 9:57 pm

      If Sharma was more of a ‘president of COP26’ he would tell Tuvalu to get knotted.

    • Gamecock permalink
      November 12, 2021 10:32 pm

      BWTM: Tuvalu is 40,144,896,000 in². With 10,000 people. If things get really bad, they can move to Eniwetok.

      Giving Tuvalu’s ‘climate minister’ (sic) the microphone is hilarious !!!

  10. mjr permalink
    November 12, 2021 5:17 pm

    i recently posted here about the bbc2 programme on Wednesday “Life at 50C”. This also maintained the “forest fire / global warming”, myth, topping and tailing the programme with “heartwrenching” accounts of fires in British Columbia and New south wales.
    And of course we remember the moorland fires in Wales caused by Global Warming that just happened to occur after 4pm on a schoolday or at weekends and school holidays

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      November 12, 2021 6:14 pm

      The fad for irresponsible selling and use of instant BBQs is the main cause, followed by the refusal to acknowledge pyro-terrorism, and a general increase in malicious/ignorant fires.

      The life at 50C was nonsense indeed. They mostly just seemed to go to places where it has ALWAYS been near impossible to scratch a living.

  11. November 12, 2021 5:28 pm

    Another BBC climate change reporter with no scientific background is leaving the BBC, no doubt to take up a lobbying role. I m talking about another liar – David Shukman.

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      November 12, 2021 7:07 pm

      Aw, Shucks, man! What a shame!

      Well, in reality he should be ashamed of the lies he has told.

    • kingedward1wasright1290 permalink
      November 14, 2021 10:02 am

      The BBC are full of [SNIP] and communists they just cannot help themselves.

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        November 15, 2021 8:23 am

        Will you or the page moderator’s delete that remark Paul ?..

      • November 15, 2021 9:15 am

        Sorry, I missed that one. Now deleted

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        November 16, 2021 6:04 am

        ‘The alias ‘kingedward1wasright1290′ is an anti-Semitic insult in itself .[ Like Joe Biden’s “Shylock’ slur.] .. I have as much contempt for the BBC as you but the post is still there as I see it

      • Stuart Hamish permalink
        November 16, 2021 6:10 am

        The post under the anti Semitic alias ‘ kingedwardwasright1290’ [ not unlike Biden’s ‘Shylock’ slur ] is still there Paul .

  12. ThinkingScientist permalink
    November 12, 2021 5:30 pm

    BBC are very crafty, I have started to notice the clever way they insert an extra phrase to cover their arse. In the above article they say

    “climate change and a policy of suppressing small fires

    So to a casual reader the main reason appears to be “climate change”.

    But if you complain and say its is mainly fire policy they respond and say “we said that”, so we reported accurately.

    I have a complain in at the moment about the WMO 50 year increase in climate disaster nonsense. Its how they are trying to wriggle out of it. Its also the use of “scientists say” – I have pointed out that if they are not basing that on the consensus science of AR6 then its false reporting (because they shouldn’t pass off minority views as mainstream – they wouldn’t report a “denier” point of view like that, now would they?)

    Its very slimy. Wormtongue is what it reminds me of.

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      November 12, 2021 6:21 pm

      That’s been standard operating procedure for the climate alarmism machine for years.

      They just lump climate change in with real issues but give it priority billing.

      e.g. ‘Ocean acidification and hypoxia’ – the former being a gross misrepresentation/exaggeration and the latter an occasional issue in places that has always happened under particular natural conditions and/or as a result of non-climate related activities of man.

  13. Barrie Emmett permalink
    November 12, 2021 5:46 pm

    I watched Rowlatt haranguing PC at the start of COP26, the man is out of control and should be sent somewhere quiet to recuperate. Unfortunately according to him it may be too late, as the end is nigh.

  14. Athelstan. permalink
    November 12, 2021 6:08 pm

    Whatever else would you expect from a bloke whom understands science as a five year old. An eco nut illeducated all wound up, and has no clue about in depth research, cannot discern fact from hearsay and even if he did understand, he would in his purblind ignorance, ignore it. This is propagandizing trash telly only attenbore and the beeb can disseminate, in time, they made science a laughing stock.

  15. MrGrimNasty permalink
    November 12, 2021 6:41 pm

    So the nutrients from the burnt trees return to the soil, the fire opens the cones so the seeds can disperse, a new generation of trees begins.

    Part of the broken thinking of climate alarmists is that they don’t understand that nature doesn’t operate on timescales of a human life, and what they perceive as a disaster may in fact be vital for long term flourishing.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 12, 2021 10:21 pm

      So, let’s plant a tree, the pig-ignorant followers shout. Not knowing that nature is ahead of the game.
      In passing, the birds in my riverdside-garden, have decided to plant ASH trees along the bank. I now have three fairly mature trees where, ten years ago, there was just field. Isn’t nature amazing – yet so ignorant of the Green party’s agenda, it seems..

  16. Penda100 permalink
    November 12, 2021 7:26 pm

    Another day of lies and propaganda from MiniTrue. AKA BBC.

  17. Graeme No.3 permalink
    November 12, 2021 9:07 pm

    Same problem in Australia.
    The original inhabitants practiced “fire stick” burning which cleared areas and allowed hunting. Early explorers remarked on the “park like nature” of the bush when they rode through.
    Eucalypts are fire resisting, and also drop leaves which ‘poison’ the area surrounding them from new eucalypt seedlings getting a start. They are quite able to regenerate after a fire as they have an underground centre of life. After a bushfire you will see new shoots and leaves within weeks of the event.
    “Modern” policy of suppressing fires (and NOT clearing firebreaks and trails) means a buildup of grasses and bushes to clog the forest. When a fire starts (and it seems many are lit by humans) the result is a much hotter fire, impossible to control, more damge and claims that it is due to climate change.
    And Australia’s version of the Sequoias is the mountain ash. After recent big fires the forest regenerated. To much amazement a possum, thought to be extinct for many years, suddenly reappeared. It turned out that it ate mainly new green leaves of the mountain ash, the supply of which increased enormously after the first big fire for 50 years.

    • Harry Passfield permalink
      November 12, 2021 10:01 pm

      ““Modern” policy of suppressing fires (and NOT clearing firebreaks and trails) means a build-up of grasses and bushes to clog the forest.”

      And the PTB know that. They have their own agenda. They just need the gullible to support CC so they can implement it. In the meantime they will allow Australia to burn for their religion.

  18. Jordan permalink
    November 12, 2021 9:51 pm

    The above is a classic case of something I see all the time from the BBC: “thanks to climate change and a policy of suppressing small fires”
    Climate change is always blamed alongside something else. You can drop the climate change, because it is the something else that is behind the story. Watch out for this, it happens a lot.

  19. November 12, 2021 9:55 pm

    Did Justin really do a report on Sequoias being badly affected by wildfires, without wildfires such trees would be extinct.

    Perhaps the Sequoia mass extinction event will arrive when we have no more wildfires, due to climate change, or something, maybe, perhaps not.

    But growing up through all that waste plastic must be difficult! can you see it, well its there, because you cannot see it doesn’t mean its not there.

  20. Ulric Lyons permalink
    November 12, 2021 10:30 pm

    “Growing in a lush grove, giant sequoia trees can stand up to 325 feet tall and live as long as 3,000 years. Their imposing size makes Sequoiadendron giganteum seem remote and invincible, but these trees that only grow on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada need the unpredictable heat of fire to reproduce.

    Fire helps giant sequoias in many ways. Small, green cones full of seeds awaiting germination grow near the crown of the trees, yet without fire or insects to crack open the cone, the seeds remain trapped inside. Green cones can live with viable seeds inside them for up to twenty years. Fire dries out the cones, enabling them to crack open and deposit their seeds on the forest floor.

    Giant sequoias have many trees and shrubs growing around their bases. A mixture of debris from these smaller plants coats the forest floor, creating a barrier that prevents falling seeds from reaching the rich soil. Shade from the smaller plants also makes the ground level too cool for tiny seeds to survive. Fire eradicates these problems. Brush and smaller trees are destroyed, leaving sunny patches and a clear forest floor, perfect for germinating seeds.

    Fire loosens the soil, allowing seeds to fall into the mineral-rich earth and gather moisture that was previously drawn by larger plants. Tiny sequoia seeds then have a fighting chance to grow to the size of their huge cousins. As the forest debris, or duff, builds up again, the seedling is protected from the cold and seed-eating creatures.

    Only a small percentage of seeds ever germinates and grows to adulthood. Too much sun, not enough moisture, or an unexpected fire can kill young, barely rooted seedlings. Even trees that are two or three years old can die when nature is not in perfect balance. However, fire remains one important part of the life cycle of the giant sequoia and a normal part of life in the forest.”

  21. George B permalink
    November 13, 2021 1:32 am

    I live in California and there is so much I could say about this. First, rainfall in California is vastly different in various regions of the state. Any state average of rainfall is nuts. Secondly, it is extremely difficult to kill any tree in the redwood family (of which the Sequoia is one) with fire. I recently drove through the area of the Santa Cruz lightning complex fire area and there were acres and acres of blackened redwoods with green shoots all over them. One such tree was still smoldering in the center with new shoots appearing along the trunk. You can clear cut a redwood forest and it will grow right back, too. New shoots will appear from the roots of the cut trees and re-grow a forest thicker than the one that was cut!

    One problem we have in the media here is that any year with below average rainfall is touted in the press as a “drought” even though that is perfectly normal. One should expect the annual rainfall to be below average about 50% of the time. Also, our rainfall is quite variable from one year to the next. You will notice in that graph that we get within 10% of the mean only about 20% of the time. 80% of years are either >10% above average or >10% below average. We have a very wide standard deviation in rainfall amounts.

    Also, 300 of the past 1000 years have been “megadrought” with rainfall <60% of today's average for 100 or more years. One such period lasted about 200 years and another lasted about 100 years. There is an entire forest of dead trees submerged under Fallen Leaf Lake that are over 100 feet tall. This was a forest that was growing during the longest of these droughts when the lake surface level was some 200-300 feet below today's level. All of the species in California survived those events. Our species are drought adapted and fire adapted.

    Prior to European settlement, California was populated by an estimated 300,000 natives who used open flame as their only source of heat, cooking, and light. They had no "red flag days" and nobody to hand out a citation for a cooking fires during dry weather. Fires were frequent. Today's major problem is forests populated with some 4 to 6 times more trees per acre than when European settlers first arrived. Aside from the obvious abundance of fuel this provides, we do not have sufficient regular rainfall to keep that number of trees healthy. In dry years they become drought stressed, they are invaded by pests such as bark beetles, and they die in large numbers resulting in even larger areas of dead trees which are simply waiting for a lightning bolt or someone to accidentally hit a rock with a piece of metal to start a fire. The state even prevented loggers taking those dead trees out even though a large amount of the timber was salvageable. The ultimate problem is that we have a large population of urban dwellers that have a very twisted idea of what "natural" is in these forests. They even ban prescribed burns in the spring because of "air quality" issues they present. Well, how's the air quality when one of these mega blazes rips through a region?

    • November 13, 2021 1:33 pm

      “Ah, but” they say, “you’re not an ‘expert’ so that can’t be correct”.
      Such naievity in the MSM is just astounding. This is stuff a schoolkid can learn and understand.

  22. Phoenix44 permalink
    November 13, 2021 7:47 am

    Whilst researching oak trees for our property in France I came across the University of California site in which it states that:

    “As the population of California continues to increase, the threat of wildfires also increases. This is because most wildfires are started by humans.”

    Presumably it’s escaped censorship as it’s a rather obscure corner.

  23. November 13, 2021 9:25 am

    The Guardian admits the forests have been mismanaged but still pushes ‘climate change’.

    Giant sequoias and fire have coexisted for centuries. Climate crisis is upping the stakes
    Sun 3 Oct 2021

    Climate change has set in motion a devastating cycle, made worse by years of land management practices that enabled the forest to become overgrown. Parched vegetation fuels the fires as the hot, dry conditions whip flares faster and higher into the forest canopy, threatening the trees that once thrived in the flames.

  24. 2hmp permalink
    November 13, 2021 11:47 am

    It all stems from OFCOM’s decision that as man made climate change is now confirmed opposing views on the issue are not required from the BBC. Nadine Norries please change this.

  25. November 13, 2021 1:03 pm

    I think we can now classify the BBC as ‘Fake News’ / ‘Disinformation’, across the board, noit just in their news programs.

  26. Stuart Hamish permalink
    November 13, 2021 2:26 pm

    ‘ Before 2015 no one saw a sequoia that looked like this [ guide Christy Brigham ] says as we stare at what looks like columns of charcoal . “You never saw a tree torch like this , become a candle and burn up this way before” ………………thanks to climate change and a policy of suppressing small fires ,conflagrations have been burning bigger and hotter …….Christy is fearful ….”We need to act on climate change now and every little bit counts .Every reduction will help these forests persist ” ..

    None of this true . Sequoia National Forest conservator Christy Brigham and BBC climate preacher Rowlatt are blurting emotive propaganda and fudging the full range of scientific facts . It was reported in September 2020 that the La Nina oscillation , which usually fans dry conditions and hazardous fire weather across California and the Southern United States , was forming over the Pacific .The La Nina pattern persisted into 2021 . I submit Brigham must have known this. Human carbon dioxide emissions have nothing to do with the Californian wildfires and the recent drought is but a smudge in the Palmer Drought Severity Index [ PDSI ] as it relates to the last two millennia of Californian paleo-climatic history .
    The fire scar and charcoal evidence of megafires in the Giant Forest sequoia groves correspond well with years of aridity and extreme drought in the region . The 2000 year sequoia forest fire frequency record correlates with the PDSI [ Figure 8 B Citation below ] more so than temperature after 1600 AD when there is discord in the respective line graphs [ Figure 8C ] Think about what that means .

    “Over the entire period ,41 of the 54 largest fire events …..occurred during dry years as indicated by negative PDSI values ….Although there were many dry years without extensive fires , most of the largest fire years occurred during extreme drought years .The largest fire year in 699 C.E for example was recorded on 28 of 36 [78%] trees in the tree ring record during that year and the PDSI was – 6.08 . Other large fire years with extremely dry PDSI values were 809 C.E …..868C.E ….913 CE …1729 CE …1777 CE ….and 1795 CE [ 72% – 5.15 ] . All but two of the 20 largest [ sequoia ]fire years sorted by percentage of trees …occurred during negative PDSI years ” ………………”The giant sequoia fire history indicates that fire frequency increased during the Medieval [ Warm ] Period [ 800 CE to 1300 CE ] and that major drought events , and to a lesser degree warming trends , probably contributed to this increase ……The western United States and specifically the Sierra Nevada ,was clearly in a period of exceptional and extended drought about the late 800’s to about 1300 CE ” ..
    Four centuries of Californian drought and conflagrations ‘burning bigger and hotter ‘ at a time in the Middle Ages when atmospheric carbon dioxide was in the range 270 – 280 ppm .and a lot of sequoia’s and redwoods must have been torched into charcoal and witnessed by Native Americans.

    ‘Multi – Millennial Fire History of the Giant Forest , Sequoia National Park ,California ,USA ,Swetnam et al , Fire Ecology 5 ,120 – 150 [2009 ]

  27. November 13, 2021 3:48 pm

    What a real California drought loos like:

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      November 15, 2021 5:27 pm

      Dr Scott Stine’s tree ring calculated megadroughts referenced in The New York Times July 1994 article do not match the timespans of the Cook et al graph annotated by Tony that shows a wet interlude in the 11th century lasting 60 years or so , and the next 140 year megadrought ending around 1300 [ when heavy rains and floods were saturating Europe ] ….not 1350 when there was another wet interval in the Cook et al chronology …..Did you notice these discrepancies Gary845 ?….Regardless the wildfire burn acreage and the centennial length and multi decadal droughts [ look at the PDSI in the Swetnam et al Fire Ecology paper above ] of the Middle Ages in the Sierra Madre and south-western United States, are not remotely comparable to the dry spells and fires of the modern era .

  28. tom0mason permalink
    November 14, 2021 7:47 am

    Real weather crisis has happened before .

    Poor farming practice but more importantly was the long period of drought and high temperatures.

  29. November 14, 2021 7:23 pm

    Some BBC image games
    #1 For his Twitter profile header image Justin Rowlatt the IMPARTIAL journalist uses a custom made PR graphic of him and Greta
    used in a fawning article he wrote about her.
    which also features 2 other photos of him and Greta

    Rowlatt originally had the plain image made to show him as the roving climate correspondent carrying his Antarctic bags and with a background of passport stamps
    It’s interesting he refers the one with Greta added

  30. November 14, 2021 7:25 pm

    #2 BBCnews Homepage
    They have gone to special trouble on the thumbnail of the Boris speech
    .. made it an image of a backlit cooling towers at a power station,
    that they traditionally pretend is clouds of dirty CO2
    it’s actually water vapour
    The 3 exhaust towers aren’t emitting visible dirt
    The video is just Boris and has no image of any power stations.

  31. Alan Kendall permalink
    November 15, 2021 4:33 pm

    I distinctly remember when we lived in the Bay Area trying to use wood from a Redwood in a wood- burning stove. Utter frustration. Even when blasting away with a firetorch all I could do was singe the surface leaving most of the wood untouched. From this experiment I find it extremely difficult to believe that Redwood trees could burn. Singe perhaps.


  1. Justin Rowlatt’s Fake Californian Wildfires Report – Watts Up With That? - News7g

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