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Oregon Wildfire Trends

September 17, 2022

By Paul Homewood

h/t WUWT


Many of you will be aware of the chart below, which shows clearly that wildfires in the US used to be many worse prior to the Second World War, before the days of intensive and systematic fire suppression:







The report has disappeared from the USDA website, but is still available on Wayback.

In similar fashion, the official data table showing fire statistics back to 1926, as still available below on Wayback, has also disappeared from the National Interagency Fire Center’s website



Instead they only offer data since 1983, with the feeble excuse that they used to use different reporting processes in the past:


However it is not possible for the authorities to cover up the truth forever.

For instance a report published in 2017 by the Oregon Board of Forestry told exactly the same story, that wildfires used to be much worse:




Oregon Fire History

It is well accepted amongst forestry experts that decades of fire suppression have led to the build of fuel loads, which have been the cause of the massive fires we see more often nowadays.

But a comparison back to 1983 only, which the authorities prefer you to see, is also skewed, because the 1980s and 90s were relatively wet decades in the Northwest and California, where the majority of fires now occur. It is no surprise that we see bigger fires now.



Climate at a Glance | National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) (

  1. thecliffclavenoffinance permalink
    September 17, 2022 12:22 pm

    1930s acres burned in the 1930 are significantly incresed by prescribed fires in the SE US states done by the Civilian Conservation Corps when they were not planting trees. Other fire districts did not have that many more acres burned in the 1930s

    Acres burned are unrelated to sma;; changes in averagetemperatures since up to 90% of forest fires are manmade. Unless there is proof that humans get more careless when the temperature rises a few tenths of degrees. Acres burned could be associated with precipitation, but rainfall has increased with global warming.

    Conclusion: Acres burned is unrelated to climate change and always has been

    Acres burned is related to the growing population, more people living near forests and forest management, which is generally ignored in recent decades.

  2. Jack Broughton permalink
    September 17, 2022 2:06 pm

    It is a tragedy that responsible science is being hi-jacked for sensationalist press coverage. Science has been severely damaged by the acceptance of half-truths and cover-ups.

  3. Gamecock permalink
    September 17, 2022 2:23 pm

    “Ice, Ice Baby”

    ‘before the days of intensive and systematic fire suppression’

    The supreme irony being that it was the ICE that made this possible.

  4. MrGrimNasty permalink
    September 17, 2022 2:40 pm

    Monty opened GW with another climate plug last night. He kept going on about the drought and how dry it was, before presenting much of the rest of the program with hair like a drowned rat. The ground also didn’t look as dry as he professed for the time of year either. I know where I am the last 3 months have in totality now had more than average rainfall after a dry July. Near Monty, Hereford Credenhill shows a dry July 19%, August dryish 68%, and September already 87%; hardly the Sahara. Also Monty implied his plants had struggled with 40C, his top temperature was 35.3C .

    • mikewaite permalink
      September 17, 2022 3:39 pm

      No longer watch GW , just another climate change misinformation blog. I realised that Monty does not believe what he is saying, just performing (for the money? does he really need it?) , when a year or two back he was talking about lawn cutting . He did his with a petrol driven mower, then followed up with a petrol driven scarifier or some such tool.
      The hypocrisy , it burns , adding to the CO2 overload no doubt .

  5. Dr Ken Pollock permalink
    September 17, 2022 3:41 pm

    Please note that Prof Michael Mann also believes that forest fires have got worse, because of climate change. He called the 2019 Australian fires, experienced during a sabbatical there, “unprecedented”. As I have said in my Amazon review of his book “The New Climate War”, that word means “worse than I thought, and I am not going to look up the records (as detailed above!) in case I am proven wrong”.
    Forgive me for a personal comment. I filmed the 1983 Australian fires for the BBC. Worse in acreage, death toll and numbers of livestock lost. And 40 years ago…
    Again, we find we cannot trust official figures, while anyone challenging them is said to be in the pay of “big oil”. If only that were true, eh Paul?

  6. John Hultquist permalink
    September 17, 2022 5:02 pm

    I will attest to the massive fuel load on the lands of Washington State. I live 100 miles east of Seattle. About once a week I cut some brush and trees down and dispose of it in a way that is no longer a threat to my house and buildings.
    In years past I worked as a volunteer on the hiking trails of the State, and there too, much effort goes to clearing woody material.
    The fuel is there. It will likely burn – See Era of Megafires (EOM)
    Paul Hessburg Era of Megafires Wildfire Forest Health — North 40 (

    Two monster fires:
    The Big Burn 1910 Idaho, WA & MT
    Great Fire of 1919 in Saskatchewan

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      September 18, 2022 11:53 am

      Yes the 1910 ‘Big Blow’ was an extraordinary mega fire . I think it is some sort of record wildfire disaster in terms of acreage burned at such a ferociously rapid rate The 1871 Wisconsin /Peshtigo’ conflagrations were also monstrous in terms of loss of life and intensity Hurricane force winds , an exceptionally dry autumn and late spring and badly timed logging detritus burns converged one October day and evening to set Wisonsin ablaze that year .There was a lot of pseudoscientific reporting after the 2019 -20 Australian Black Summer bush-fires and similar fires in California concerning the phenomenon of ‘firenado’s as if the twisters were exacerbated by – you guessed it – climate change……However the Peshtigo survivors recalled the same firenado swirls 150 years ago

  7. September 18, 2022 7:57 am

    The long march through the institutions has included the USDA.

    • Stuart Hamish permalink
      September 18, 2022 12:10 pm

      The suspicious timing of the “memory holing” of the pre – 1983 USDA fire chart data suggests its disappearance is almost certainly a directive of the Biden administration …..Is the old NOAA Tornado Count graph still visible online or has it been ‘archived’ like NASA’s page highlighting the Sun as the climate force majeure ?

  8. C Lynch permalink
    September 18, 2022 12:09 pm

    Cancelling the past – positively Orwellian.

  9. Louis Laframboise permalink
    September 18, 2022 3:48 pm

    Here is a beautiful story recounted by a firekeeper about his life, work and observations from his fire tower in California. It is really well put together and provides a balance to the more scientific approaches. It is episode 4.7 of Future Ecologies called Phase Change:

    I hope you like it as much as I did. Quite different.

  10. Romeo Rachi permalink
    September 19, 2022 7:03 pm

    Something else to keep in mind that has definitely added to the fuel load was the stoppage to logging on federal lands under Clinton back in, I think, 1994. Nothing has really changed since then and forests have definitely overgrown since then. Basically 30 years of unmanaged growth has resulted in super thick forests. This is in addition to the fire suppression that has been going on for many decades now.
    Thankfully, here in Arizona, we are using controlled burns along with other forestry practices to help maintain an open and healthy forest ecosystem. It only took the Rodeo-Chediski fire and multiple lawsuits to get it done.

  11. Phoenix44 permalink
    September 20, 2022 7:52 am

    We can come at this from a different route – botany. We know that a significant number if tree and plant species are highly adapted to wildfires. Many seeds only germinate after fires and many show evolutionary adaptations in terms of bark and other structures. Thus there must always have been wide-scale and common wildfires.

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