President Donald Trump flew to California on Monday to review wildfire damage and renewed his argument with state and local officials by claiming that the main cause of the wildfire is poor management, not climate change.
Although scientists and government officials identified climate change as the primary culprit behind the intense wildfires, President Trump insisted during a briefing in Northern California that “forest management” is more to blame.
“I think this is more of a management situation,” Trump said. “If you look at other countries, if you go to other countries in Europe, Austria and Finland and numerous countries … they don’t have problems like this,” even with “explosive” trees.
“When trees fall down, after a short period of time they become very dry — really like a matchstick … and they can explode,” he continued. “Also leaves. When you have dried leaves on the ground, it’s just fuel for the fires.”
However, in reality, the federal government owns more of the state’s 33 million forest acres than the state does. And it is on the federal lands that some of the largest fires of the state have burned.
“We acknowledge our role and responsibility to do more in that space,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday. “But one thing is fundamental — 57% of the land in this state is federal forest land, 3% is California [land].” He stressed that California needs support from the federal government in order to address the infernos.
Officials working on California, Oregon, and Washington’s wildfires said that the situation will worsen if President keeps ignoring the impact of climate change.