Viral social media post comparing California and Texas wildfire management is misleading

 Newswise
12-Oct-2020 3:25 PM EDT, by Newswise

Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: Mostly False

Claim:

“Texas has more acres of forest than California and currently has zero fires. Same global climate. Opposite forestry policies."

Claim Publisher and Date: Scott Osborn on Facebook on 2020-09-21

A Facebook post shared more than 25,000 times asserts that California would do well to emulate Texas when it comes to managing its forestland. 

“Texas has more acres of forest than California and currently has zero fires,” says the Sept. 21 post by Scott Osborn, of Texas. “Same global climate. Opposite forestry policies."

Although it is true that Texas has nearly twice as much forestland as California, the notion of Texas having zero fire now is false. According to Weldon Dent, of the Texas Forest Service, "As I’m sure you are aware, wildfires can, and do, occur at any time of the year. Texas is no exception. For example: on Sunday, Sept. 27, Texas A&M Forest Service responded to three wildfires. This is not including any wildfires that may have been responded to at the local level.”

Texas and California have different climates when comparing forest fire management. California has primarily warm and dry climates, where as much of the central and eastern parts of Texas are considered humid and sub-tropical.

As reported by John Moritz of USA Today...

That argument is upheld by Climate-Data.org, which analyzes satellite information from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other sources, the forest-rich Piney Woods of East Texas receive significant annual rainfall, “with precipitation even during the driest month.”

The same is true in North Central Texas and the south to the Hill County, where large pockets of mesquite, live oaks and mountain juniper thrive.

In the northern regions of California, which has been ravaged by this year’s fires, rainfall is heaviest in the colder months and rare in the summer, according to Climate Data. The southern regions, also hit hard by fires, are mostly dry year-round.

 

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