A Summary of Fires on the West Coast

Posted by on 09/12/2020 12:14
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A Summary of Fires on the West Coast

In the latest level of our modern day Jumanji adventure, the entire I5 corridor along the west coast is on fire. The view on the ground is that of a hellish landscape, and over 10% of the population of Oregon has been evacuated from their homes (usatoday.com)

Before anyone can begin to even think about rebuilding, the left is already ecstatically saying “the debate is over around global warming climate change” and prepping the next wave of the Green New Deal agenda.

Seriously, how is Newsom so excited about this? His state is burning, people are losing homes, people have died.

While Newsom gleefully highlights his “victory” in the climate change discussion, those who educate themselves on the facts about CA, and OR’s history of:

Know that there is likely something else going on here, even Forbes(forbes.com) agrees that CA’s forest management is terrible, and actually increasing the amount of CO2 coming from the forest.

While rumors and “verified information” runs rampant through the twitter-verse, blaming everything from Antifa, Proud Boys and the Chinese for the starting the fires, local police stations attempted to calm people down and stop the rumor mill:

It should be noted, as an insurgent organization that operates much like those of ISIS or Hezbollah, Antifa is not going to likely take responsibility for their terrorist actions with the goals of scaring and intimidating those deemed “fascist”.

Almost immediately after officials said “no Antifa here”, and continuing for the next few days, people started noticing dozens of reported arrests and investigations for arson:

Law enforcement aside, some witness have caught or seen arsonists in the act that have not been caught by law enforcement:

Maps and Data

In addition, to some of the above evidence of arson we can look at historical data. I am a map guy, and I have two great ones to show you.

Fires in Oregon and California are commonly caused by lightning strikes and in forested areas far away from cities and at high mountainous elevation. I have found 2 maps to be helpful in improving my understanding what is happening in the area without a news media filter.

Below you can see the differences in location of historical (back to year 2000) and current fires.

Left – Historical fires only
Right – Adds current fires overlay

Link to sartopo map used in images

Couple observations here.

  • Notice how many of the current fires are in areas that have not burned in the last 20 years. Not suggesting that only arson can burn an unburnt area but with how common it is for an area to burn over and over again, I find this pattern interesting.
  • How close the fires are to the I5 corridor. With the amount of arson arrests we are seeing along the west coast combined with how many of them started within the same 24 hour period it would not be hard for a small number of individuals, with a box of flammables could start most of these fires in the pattern we are seeing. One group causing multiple fires, or multiple groups causing multiple fires around the same time instantly turned the western United States into a chaotic hellscape.
  • The lack of fires in areas away from I5 that are typically on fire. Again, look at the historical data, compared to our current situation.

The state of Oregon has a great dashboard for checking on the current situation, including satellite images of most of the west coast. (My fellow ArcGIS nerds will enjoy)

In another stunning defeat of our current understanding of wildfire science, it appears most of the fires started all at once:


While I have not personally found evidence connecting Antifa to the fires, the evidence for some type of coordinated or widespread arson is pretty damning. There is little evidence this sudden crisis can be attributed to climate change and the narrative is already being formed saying that climate change is definitively the problem here.

While I do think Antifa definitely has the capacity to pull something like this off, it doesn’t seem to fit their typical MO. Typical Antifa cells tend to operate in ways more in line with tactics and techniques designed to cause fear and intimidation among people deemed “fascist” and they will typically brag and take responsibility for their actions over anonymous social media accounts.

In my mind the most likely responsible party is an organized Eco-Terrorism group to push a climate change agenda, or a group (maybe Antifa) bent on burning down homes of conservatives to prevent voting in Oregon’s mail in election. Time will tell as more arrests are made, and a media narrative is formed.