In today’s news, wildfires are not ravaging the Amazon or Fort McMurray. Or Australia. Or anywhere. Technically they are still burning; the Global Forest Watch fire page shows red dots, blobs and streaks from Iceland to Indonesia and from Ecuador to Japan. But apparently they’re not newsworthy any more. Which is odd since during the hysteria over the wildfires in Fort McMurray in 2016, the Amazon in summer 2019 and Australia last fall everyone who’s anyone insisted those fires were “the new normal” and would continue forever. If the fires then went out, doesn’t it mean that warming isn’t out of control and that the facile links people were drawing between some local event and global disaster were misleading? And if other fires started elsewhere, can we discuss the fact that these things weren’t new or unusual back when you panicked? But apparently climate change means never having to say you’re sorry. So all we get is eerie silence.
In point of fact there continue to be so many wildfires that if you visit Global Forest Fire Watch and click on the map you’re liable to be amazed anyone can see through the haze. This screen capture of their map for the week of Feb. 15-20 shows the southeastern United States, central America, the area around the junction of Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina, central Africa from west to east, India, Thailand, southern France (yes, really), Ukraine, and the eastern half of the Arabian peninsula all ablaze, along with eastern China, Malaysia, Indonesia and even Japan. There are forest fires in places you didn’t know had trees.
Two possible explanations present themselves. One, global warming has set the planet on fire and we’re burning up but we lost interest because we have short attention spans. The other is that there have always been forest fires because trees are made of wood, the most popular source of fuel for fire since the stuff was invented, and the whole ruckus was a case of waiting for something bad to happen, drawing some implausible connection between it and “climate change,” milking it for all it's worth and when the skeptics catch up with your dubious logic, inaccurate facts and posting of online images from the wrong country, moving on, um, hot foot.