The devastating California wildfires should completely erase any skepticism about the crisis of climate change. However, President Trumps suggested that the fires resulted because America isn’t raking its forests and dismissed climate change as a major cause.
It seems incomprehensible America could have a Commander-in-Chief so ignorant of science or the basic facts about forest management and climate change. While visiting fire devastated areas in California last week, Trump suggested he got the raking idea after talking to the President of Finland.
“I was with the President of Finland and he said we have — much different — we are a forest nation. He called it a forest nation,” Trump said. “And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem. So I know everybody’s looking at that to that end.”
Following Trump’s statement, the Finnish President denied ever promoting raking as a forest fire prevention. However, that didn’t stop Trump. In an interview on FOX News with Chris Wallace, Trump again came out as a forest raking advocate.
“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” Trump said. “And they’re raking … 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 and cleaned out. You wouldn’t have the fire.”
Finnish social media have had a bonanza mocking Trump’s crazy forest raking fire solution. Finnish Twitter is having great fun with the latest #rakenews. Here’s a sample from Finnish twitter accounts:
“Just this afternoon I was busy meeting my raking quota.”
“And it’s not just rakes. Some Finns are showing how they vacuum the forest to really get the job done.”
“Here in Finland we rake the forests even in winter, just in case.”
“Good luck Mr. Trump! Best raking regards from Finland!”
“I grew up in Finland. a) it rains all year round. b) we have a lengthy and cold winter. c) Finland is a sparsely populated country with just over 5 million people, with land size 3/4 the size of CA and most of it forests and lakes. d) no friggin body is raking the forests.”
“Other countries got in on the act as well with Germans lamenting the fact that their un-raked forests are vulnerable.”
Putting aside Trump’s ridiculous raking claims, the real effects of climate change have made California hotter and drier than ever. Western wild fires are growing bigger and consuming more acres each year. Since 2000, California has experienced 15 of the 20 largest fires in its history. Its annual average temperatures have increased 3 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. Simultaneously, California has had multiple years of drought which has lengthened the dry season each year. Autumn rains are coming later in the season, sometimes not until November and December.
The California Natural Resources Agency predicted in an August climate change report that:
“Heat waves will grow more severe and persistent, shortening the lives of thousands of Californians. Wildfires will burn more of the state’s forests. The ocean will rise higher and faster, exposing California to billions in damage along the coast. California has already warmed since the beginning of the 20th century as a result of the human-caused buildup of greenhouse gases. That figure could rise to between 5.6 degrees and 8.8 degrees by 2100.”
It’s clear Democratic Governor Jerry Brown believes California warming and fires result from climate change and aren’t related to raking their forests.
“In California, facts and science still matter,” Gov. Jerry Brown said. “These findings are profoundly serious and will continue to guide us as we confront the apocalyptic threat of irreversible climate change.”
While California burns, Trump and most of the Republican Party remain silent about the growing threat of climate change. Blaming the fires on poor raking habits is the latest excuse for a party held hostage by the fossil fuel industry.
by Rick Smith