As the wildfires ravaging Northern and Southern California destroy billions of dollars worth of real estate, President Trump reminded the world in a Saturday morning tweet that global warming – which many (on the left in particular) have blamed for the fires – isn’t the responsible for the fires. Rather, California’s inept forest-management strategies have left the state vulnerable as drought-like conditions have transformed the state’s densely packed forests into a bed of kindling, just waiting to be set off by a stray cigarette butt.
In a tweet that seems almost tailor-made to trigger the left, President Trump threatened to revoke the “billions that are given each year” to the state if California doesn’t address the “gross mismanagement” of its forests and take more steps to mitigate the fires.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. 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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
As University of Washington Climate Scientist Cliff Mass pointed out in an analysis of the factors contributing to California’s wildfires, climate change isn’t driving climate change; rather, poor land management policies and population growth in once-rural areas have been by far the biggest contributors. According to one recent study cited by Mass, the risk of fire increased in once-rural areas as populations increased, placing buildings, plants, vehicles and other ignition sources in fire-prone areas that were once sparsely populated.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has criticized “environmental terrorists groups that have not allowed public access, that refuse to allow harvest of timber.” Environmentalists use litigation to keep federal agencies from thinning forests, clearing debris or allowing logging, Zinke said. This, in turn, creates more kindling that can help wildfires accelerate more quickly. Zinke also called out “extreme environmentalists” in an interview with KCRA that aired Sunday. The day before that, Zinke lambasted “environmental terrorists groups that have not allowed public access, that refuse to allow harvest of timber,” told Brietbart back in July.
“I’ve heard the climate change argument back and forth,” Zinke told the Sacramento-based KCRA. “This has nothing to do with climate change. This has to do with active forest management.”
But although Trump may have good reason to try and hold the state of California accountable for its actions, his political opponents will inevitably interpret this as another attempt by the Trump administration to cruelly withdraw resources from people who badly need them, even if the evidence supporting his central claim, that the forest management policies advocated by the environmental lobby, is hardly controversial.