Ever since the realities of terror hit us square in the face on 9/11/2001, our minds have run wild with the potential threats we may face. While a lot of the focus was on methods already used, like aviation, other thoughts like the food and water supply came to mind. Along those lines, environmental terrorism was a possibility.
For years, fears of environmental terror were viewed as conspiratorial and fringe. Most people won’t accept the potential of a threat until it already happened. Well, we’re now there, on the environmental thing. Let me ask you. What comes to mind? If you guessed wildfires, I was wrong about you.
ISIS has outlined a strategic terror plan that involves the use of wildfires. Actually, this is another case where we might not have been paying attention. ISIS first outlined the use of “forests near residential areas” as prime areas to carry out attacks in January of 2017. But, they weren’t the originators of that tactic. Al Qaeda first did so in 2012. This is gaining attention overseas because 136 fires in the middle-east over the past three weeks have now been attributed to ISIS. They’ve been targeting farmlands in addition to residential areas adjacent to vegetation. It might not be the manipulation of weather systems that some conspiracy theorists claim occurs, but it very much is environmental terror. Now here’s the thing. Think about the damage from wildfires in the US without terrorists using it as a tactic.
Last year, there were over 58,000 wildfires for the year that burned more than 8.8 million acres. That’s more than the size of the state of Maryland! In the US there are 4.5 million homes ranked at high risk for vulnerability to wildfires. The stakes are high. No one’s talking about it here but theoretically, it hasn’t hit here yet. I say theoretically because do we really know it hasn’t been used as a tactic here? It’s one more reason it’s important to mind the store on our border and pay attention to what’s happening around the world. As history has shown us, what happens with terror overseas doesn’t stay overseas.
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