Donald Trump was slammed over the weekend for criticizing California’s “forest management” while firefighters and residents were battling three major wildfires. But experts also pointed out to the president that places like Thousand Oaks, Malibu and Paradise were not “forests.”
On Saturday, Trump wrote:
The Hill and Woolsey fires in Ventura and Los Angeles County have destroyed thousands of structures in southern California, one of the most highly populated areas of the United States.
“There are no forests to manage here,” UCLA geography professor Glen MacDonald, who was forced to evacuate from his Southern California home, told The Daily Beast on Sunday.
MacDonald called Trump’s tweet an “insult and so uninformed. It was a statement made with insensitivity and ignorance.”
Pasadena fire officials had a similar message for Trump:
Gov. Jerry Brown’s office said the president’s comments were “inane and uniformed.”
“Our focus is on the Californians impacted by these fires and the first responders and firefighters working around the clock to save lives and property — not on the president’s inane and uninformed tweets,” Brown’s Press Secretary Evan Westrup said in a statement Sunday.
Also, the federal government manages close to 60 percent of the forests in the state, and most of the rest are privately owned by families, companies and Native American tribes.
Although California wildfires have occurred naturally over the centuries, climate change is making them worse. Temperatures remain high for longer stretches of the year, rainfall has dropped and hot dry winds have increased.
Trump calls climate change a “hoax.”
“If you look at the 20 biggest fires in the state, 15 of those have happened since 2000,” MacDonald told the Beast.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated Glen MacDonald’s first name as Martin.
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