SCRANTON— In a Trump rally held in Joe Biden’s hometown, Pres. Trump briefly addressed the California (CA) wildfires. For about two minuets, Trump pointed to poor forestry as the primary cause for the 20 complex fires that were ripping through CA at the time. As of Aug 22, the fires have gone down to 19 according to the CAL FIRE website.
“They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up,” said Trump.“Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us,” he added.
Since his speech many people have been trying to decipher Pres. Trump’s cryptic messages. Pointing to poor forestry, Trump blamed the state of CA for it’s floors riddled with dry brush and dead trees that are prone to fires. Although a majority of wild land in CA is federally owned, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has pointed to inadequate forestry in the past.
A report produced by California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection in 2019 states,
“California’s forest management efforts have not kept pace with these growing threats. Despite good forest management work completed by the state and federal government and private landowners each year, our collective forest management work each year is currently inadequate to improve the health of millions of acres of forests and wildlands that require it. It is estimated that as many as 15 million acres of California forests need some form of restoration.”
The report was printed in response to Executive Order N-05-19 issued by Gavin Newsom in January 9, 2019, only three months after the infamous Butte county campfires. The Executive Order directs the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE), in consultation with other state agencies and departments, to recommend immediate, medium and long-term actions to help prevent destructive wildfires.
Since then, Newsom and the state of CA have made fire prevention top priority. In the May 2020 Budget revision, Gavin Newsom gave an additional $90 million General Fund ($142.7 million ongoing) to support the CAL FIRES protection capabilities and prevention.
“Over the past several years, the state has experienced unprecedented increases in wildfire activity driven by climate change. Furthermore, recent forecasts indicate that 2020 is likely to be an active fire year given lower than average precipitation, snowpack, and fuel moisture levels,” said Newsom in the May 2020 Budget revision.