During a press conference in California on Saturday, President Donald Trump blamed the deadly wildfire currently ravaging the state on officials’ failure to adequately rake the forests, saying in Finland, “they spend a lot of time on raking” leaves and do not have as many problems.
> "You’ve got to take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story,” Trump said standing next to California Governor Jerry Brown and Governor-elect Gavin Newsom.
> “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,” Trump said, making a moving motion with his hand. “And they don't have any problem.”
> The president continued: “And when it is, it’s a very small problem, so I know everybody is looking at it to that end and it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well.”
Trump reportedly made the same point in an interview with Fox News that will air Sunday, telling Chris Wallace if California raked the forests, it “wouldn’t have the fires.”
> “I was watching the firemen the other day and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” the president complained in a clip. “And they’re raking trees, little trees like this that are not 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. You wouldn’t have the fires.”
As for climate change as a contributor to California’s fires? Trump said it might be a small factor:
> “Maybe it contributes a little bit,” Trump told Wallace. “The big problem we have is management.”
> A week ago Trump threatened on Twitter to take federal funds away from California if the state did not change its forestry management practices. His comments were criticized as incorrect by firefighters and other officials and experts.