Here’s Why California Is Burning

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In case you’re not interested in 2,000 words on the subject, here’s the tl;dr version:

  1. Climate change has made the weather hotter, which creates lots of dry, brittle undergrowth that makes perfect tinder for wildfires.
  2. In the past, fires settled down a bit at night when temps went down. Now, thanks to higher nighttime temperatures, they just keep spreading.
  3. For the past several decades the timber industry has clear-cut California forests and replaced them with dense new plantings. These new “forests” have no natural firebreaks to stop fires from spreading at warp speed.
  4. The local power company, PG&E, is unusually greedy and has refused to spend the money necessary to clear trees from around its power lines. Every stray spark from a PG&E line is a potential fire starter.

There’s more, including a history of misguided fire suppression policies, but these are the basics. There’s not a lot that can be done about climate change in the short term, but we could certainly stop the clear-cutting; adopt better forest management; and force PG&E to follow the law. That would go a long way toward gradually reducing the fuel load and cutting back on fires started by power lines.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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