On Monday, Donald Trump went on a bizarre rant about wildfires. He falsely claimed that “explosive trees” are what fueled California’s raging forest fires.
During a televised briefing in Sacramento Trump stated that dry trees “just explode. You can knock this down to nothing,” Trump said. “You go to Europe … They’re very, very strong on management, and they don’t have a problem. With — as they say — more explosive trees than we have in California.”
On Tuesday, Trump doubled down on his comments during an interview with “Fox & Friends.”
“In Europe, they have forest cities … they don’t have fires like this, and they have more explosive trees. They have trees that will catch easier, but they maintain their fire … They thin the fuel. The fuel is what’s on the ground, the leaves.”
From California to Washington there are currently more than 85 forest fires burning. So far, in California, more than a million acres have burned forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes.
Despite Trump’s claims trees do not just spontaneously combust. According to officials, the current blazes were caused by several different things including lightning strikes and a gender reveal party that went very wrong.
Scientists say that changes in climate have led to drier and warmer conditions that put places like California at a much higher risk of wildfires.
“If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed together protecting Californians,” Wade Crowfoot the secretary for natural resources in California told Trump during a briefing on the fires.
Back in August. Trump threatened to withhold federal funds from California as wildfires swept across the state if officials did not “clean” the forests. Trump believes that someone should rake up the leaves off millions of acres of forests.
Trump made the “raking” suggestion last year as well and Chris Field, director of the Stanford Wood Institute for the Environment, said that cleaning debris should not be the main solution.
“We need to upgrade homes and businesses to make them more fire-resistant, improve defensible spaces around buildings, and limit ignitions, including from downed power lines,” Field said.