Former President Donald Trump demanded reforms in forest management while taking a survey of the devastating wildfire damage that ravaged northern California’s forests alongside Governor Jerry Brown and other officials.
Trump noted on Saturday that “other countries do it differently,” remarking that their successful forest management practices “raking and cleaning things,” lead to better outcomes, or as Trump put it, “a whole different story.”
Trump arrived in the state early that morning with great fanfare, as California onlookers, wearing masks for smoke and holding American flags welcomed Trump’s motorcade. First responders in the crowd proudly saluted the former president.
In California, Trump lamented the damage caused by the wildfire, saying that he hopes it never happens again and noting that this most recent fire “was a really, really bad one.” He added that the top priority at this time is to lend help to people who were adversely affected and hurt by the fire.
Trump was accompanied on his visit by Gov. Brown, Governor-elect Gavin Newsom, FEMA Admin. Brock Long and several members of Congress.
Wildfires destroyed over 484,500 acres in California so far, with 150,000 of that affecting Paradise and it’s surrounding communities. At least 323 structures have been lost in the blaze.
Trump exchanged blows in the past with his accompaniment, as he called out “poor” forest management practices in California as responsible for the horrible and regular fires. Brown responded by blaming global warming and “those who deny [it]” as responsible for the worsening fire seasons.
The role of climate change in wildfire frequency and intensity is still being debated, with most experts on wildfires pointing to other factors such as fuel build up and population growth. The best experts have been saying for years that decades of poor forest management are responsible for increasing fuel load (dead, fallen trees) which increases the intensity of wildfires when they do spark.
Trump spoke to reporters after his survey of the damage, telling them that there’s a “management factor” that he was going to be discussing with Brown and Newsom. “We’re going to be looking at [better management] together.”
A reporter tried to press Trump about whether the fires had changed his opinion of global warming, he said that it did not.
“Every year we go through this,” Trump said, then calling for reform, he promised that America was “going to have safe forests.”
Author: Herman Sandoval