Misplaced blame of California wildfires only worsens situation


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On Aug. 4, a national emergency was declared because of the severity of the wildfires.

President Donald Trump placed blame on California for their forest management practices and threatened to cut government funding in a recent tweet responding to the fires ravaging northern California. This is the same president who has cut $1.5 billion from the U.S. Department of The Interior’s budget and $120 million from the Federal acquisition of lands.

This is the same president who pulled the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord. This is the same president who has spread the idea time and time again that overwhelming scientific consensus is wrong and climate change is a hoax. This is the president who has invested his time into destroying the environment and acts surprised when it happens.

“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 Trump is right in one sense; California is known not to conduct controlled burns as often as they should. This is in part due to air pollution and the need for proper weather conditions, making it difficult for the perfect day to line up. It is also in part due to Calfire’s lack of management up until recently. Calfire made controlled burns of 20,000 acres a goal in 2016. A state as big and as unbuilt as California needs time for this policy change to make a difference and cutting funding after a massive wildfire ravages the state is not the answer.

The factor that Trump conveniently left out of his tweet is the role of climate change in the California wildfires. California’s drought hit a significant low in the Northern side this year with an average of rain that was eight inches less than the past 30 years. The worsening of California drought conditions along with the rise of the global temperature have been common claims of how climates are changing and how we need to make changes in human behavior. For Trump, this has never been something to worry about and the fires change nothing.

Before the fires he has tweeted things such as, “It’s really cold outside, they are calling it a major freeze, weeks ahead of normal. Man, we could use a big fat dose of global warming!” and after the fires, he tweeted this, “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?” In trying to disprove climate change, Trump has done the opposite. His constant exemplification of anomalous weather patterns is evidence of climate change because these massive swings in weather are not supposed to happen.

Trump’s claim that forest management has been less than ideal is true. Controlled burns need to see a step up in California to increase safety for their citizens. The way to do that is not by cutting government spending. The Trump presidency has already cut spending on environmental protection and it has made matters worse. In order for things to get better for our lands, we need a president who truly cares about them.