It is wonderful to see this while I still smell the smoke.
The Sierras have gotten warmer, the pines are dying wholesale and becoming tinder, government agencies and local people are goosing around trying to work out ways of making money from it, and it will mostly all burn although not a bit of any of that is necessary.
When the tops of the watershed are denuded, the water in them releases, rainfall is reduced by something close to 40%, and temperatures rise 10 to 15 degrees F (that's local weather, not climate, and the change is less where you already have a desert).
In this case, "downslope" includes the large urban communities of California and the agricultural land of the Central Valley from Bakersfield up north past Chico: of late, the most productive agricultural area in the US.
Driving by, I can already see where vintners have pulled out 5-year-old grapes (just ready to produce well) and left peach, orange, and almond orchards to dry for insurance or government subsidy.
There are straightforward, relatively easy, tested and true ways to change this under the general rubric of permaculture. We have to get the sorts of techniques involved in these projects into forestry.