Forbes reporter/columnist Ariel Cohen had me back down a rabbit hole with his article “The age of the ‘megafire’ is upon us.” Recent news had reprised the grief I experienced at our 2020 megafires here in Australia, which Cohen aptly says “killed more than 30 people, destroyed 6,000 homes and businesses, and burned 20% of the country’s forest.” Cohen is an analyst, not prone to hyperbole, but he quotes scientists saying we’ll look back at 2020’s fires as a fond memory, and even he concludes with the same message: “What we are seeing on the West Coast and around the world will soon shift from an anomaly to the new normal. The age of the megafire is upon us.”
I’m also observing with pulsing dismay the irrational push to view all these megafires as just a target for better forest management, while discounting any global warming footprint. The rationalist in me, the actuary, combines with the writer to foretell slow inevitable cycles of people resisting the science, then getting burnt out and killed, before, before eventually (too late, too late) the reality sinks in. Right now, in my mourning state of mind, humanity might not respond/adapt to the age of the megafire for another decade. How can this be so?