California firefighters just shared a must-read response to Trump's attack on their heroic rescue efforts.
Over 200,000 acres have been scorched and 31 people have died in the Woolsey and Hill fires north of Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California.
Six years of scant rainfall combined with historically-high temperatures have created tinderbox-like conditions in the Golden State's forests.
However, President Trump, an avid climate change denier, took to Twitter to blame the state's government for mismanaging its forests and helping create the fires. He even threatened to pull federal funding from the state to combat the emergency.
Trump’s words were not only cruel and counterproductive at a time when people are losing their lives, jobs, and homes, but they are factually incorrect.
According to a report form the Legislative Analyst’s Office, one-third of California is forestland of which 57% is owned by federal government — Trump’s jurisdiction — while 25% are managed by private industry, and just 3% by state and local governments.
Further, in Trump’s 2018 budget proposal he attempted to cut tens of millions from the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service budgets. These agencies oversee the type of forest management work needed to help prevent such fires.
Fortunately, those cuts didn't happen.
Trump railed against California in August as well, blaming bad environmental laws for its forest fires.
Trump obviously missed the irony that a lack of environmental protection has led to the conditions that created the fires in the first place.
California Professional Firefighters President Brian K. Rice released a powerful rebuke of Trump’s tweet calling it “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning.”
California Professional Firefighters represents more than 30,000 front-line firefighters and paramedics in the state.
Here’s the entire statement:
The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.
At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.
At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.
The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another one-third under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.
Natural disasters are not “red” or “blue” – they destroy regardless of party. Right now, families are in mourning, thousands have lost homes, and a quarter-million Americans have been forced to flee. At this desperate time, we would encourage the president to offer support in word and deed, instead of recrimination and blame.
On Saturday, November 10, Trump offered his condolences to the victims and evacuees. Because Trump truly cares.