This is how you prevent forest fires?
“You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important,” Trump noted Saturday surrounded by the devastation of the burned town of Paradise in northern California.
“I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We have a much different —we’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation, and they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem,” Trump said.
Critics were stumped by the raking solution.
They also pointed out the many extreme differences between warm, sunny, drought-stricken California with its annual destructive (and growing worse) fire seasons and Finland, land of marshes, cold temperatures and snow. A quarter of the nation is within the Arctic Circle.
But even with the fire-preventing advantages of far colder temperatures and precipitation, Scandinavia and Finland were hit with serious fires this year due to unusually hot and dry conditions, which scientists attributed to climate change.
Over to you, Finland:
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto later disputed this. He told a local newspaper that he had briefed Trump on Finland’s efforts to surveil and care for its forests, the Associated Press wrote, “but said he can’t recall anything being mentioned on raking.”
Maybe it wasn’t Niinisto who gave Trump the raking idea. Maybe it was something he saw on TV.
“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas. They were raking areas!” Trump told Fox News from the Oval Office on Friday — before he left for California. “They’re raking trees, little trees like this — nut trees, little bushes, that you could see are totally dry. Weeds! And they’re raking them. They’re on fire.”
“That should have been all raked out,” he concluded. “You wouldn’t have the fires.”
The Fox host, Chris Wallace, asked whether climate change might not be a larger wildfire factor than unraked debris, but Trump didn’t think so.
Wherever Trump got the notion that raking parts of California — be it entire forest floors or the areas around little nut trees — could have prevented the Camp Fire, not many people seem to agree.
There is seriously something wrong when the leader of your country thinks that the way to solve one of the most serious environmental challenges is to do yard work because he once saw it on TV.
The way he sees it, if the Southwest is ever overrun by a feral roadrunner population, the ACME Company is going to be really busy.