You've probably been reading about the terrible wildfires raging out west.

A lot of people in California are blaming these fires on the state's drought.

But our friend Andy Caldwell, executive director of COLAB (The Coalition of Labor, Agriculture and Business), and one of our favorite radio hosts, suggests that the real culprit is the current environmental policies of the state.

In a Santa Barbara News Press column headlined "Why California Is Feeling the Burn," Andy writes:

Since 2010, Los Padres National Forest has suffered the deaths of 60 million trees. Of course, some people will attribute this loss to the drought, but that is only half the story. The truth is that the do-nothing approach to managing our forests and other natural resources is the real culprit here.

A protocol to manage our forests would allow timber harvesting, which serves to remove dead, diseased and dying trees before they foment a crisis that is beyond control. In addition, by removing and thinning trees in a forest, you cut down on the spread of disease, you decrease the competition for water, and you serve to eliminate the devastating impacts of wildland fires. Moreover, by creating fire breaks and implementing prescribed burns, you also limit the destruction from fires by controlling fuel and creating the means by which to hold fire lines.

Allowing people to live in the forest area means that roads will be constructed. These roads also serve as fire breaks and they also create avenues of access to the forest areas for firefighters and their equipment. Further, encouraging ranchers to run cattle and manage the brush cuts down on the fuels that create the perfect conditions for out-of-control conflagrations.

The alternative to the do-nothing approach would allow citizens to proactively manage and utilize our natural resources.

Needless to say, the do-nothing policies are much beloved by the environmentalists, who portray themselves as friends of the environment.

Unfortunately, Andy's excellent column is available only by subscription.