President Donald Trump’s Saturday tweet maligning California’s forest management and threatening to cease federal funding as massive fires ravage the state did not sit well with the presidents of two professional firefighter associations, according to USA Today.
> California Professional Firefighters president Brian Rice called the President's words "ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning" in a written statement.
> Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, said the comments were "reckless and insulting."
> "There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor," Trump tweeted. "Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!"
Hours later, Trump followed up with a tweet seeming to show appreciation for the firefighters and offer sympathies to those affected by the devastation — which at the time included at least 11 people who had died.
“More than 4,000 are fighting the Camp and Woolsey Fires in California that have burned over 170,000 acres,” the president wrote. “Our hearts are with those fighting the fires, the 52,000 who have evacuated, and the families of the 11 who have died. The destruction is catastrophic. God Bless them all.”
> Rice decried both the tone of Trump's earlier tweet and its factual basis.
> He called the assertion that California’s forest management policies were to blame for the fires "dangerously wrong."
> Wildfires don't start in forests alone — they also begin in populated areas and fields with "parched vegetation," he wrote.
> "Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California."