California, wildfires and Trump attacks

This 7 August 2018 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

The Mendocino Complex wildfire in Northern California is now the largest in state history. It’s burned more than 443 square miles, an area nearly as large as the city of Los Angeles. The Mendocino Complex is one of 15 large fires burning in California. John Blackstone reports.

Translated from Evita Neefs in Belgian daily De Standaard today:

Trump at war with California

Humans and climate burn forests

California is on fire. For weeks the fire brigade has been working hard to contain sixteen big fires. Without much success. The conflagration around Clear Lake, just south of Mendocino National Forest, has become the largest in the history of the Golden State.

President Donald Trump blamed the disaster – in two tweets – on the ‘bad environmental laws’ of the state. According to him, enormous amounts of water are ‘diverted to the Pacific Ocean’, so that the fire brigade suffers from a water shortage. Experts could not believe their eyes. That is not at all the cause of the forest fires. The tweets do not make sense: there is no lack of fire-fighting water at all.

Ever since 1944, Smokey Bear has been encouraging Americans to be careful in the woods. In vain. 84 percent of forest fires – in California even 90 percent – are still caused by humans.

The largest surfaces are turned into ashes by fires caused by high-voltage lines. However, having these underground is too expensive, the utilities corporations say.

In a tweet, Trump instructed California to thin out its forests and remove the undergrowth. Experts admit that there is something in that. But, they add, ‘the majority of the trees are on the federal government’s land’. They are Trump’s own services that are in default. Their budget has not yet been approved.

California itself spent $ 256 million this year for forest management. The money comes from the emission allowances for CO2. ‘Climate change causes more and more devastating fires’, according to the Californian fire brigade. And climate change is not something that Trump believes in.

Where does the presidential statement come from? Trump is on collision course with the Golden State about anything and everything, from the legalization of cannabis to the questions for the next census. But immigration and the fight against climate change create the biggest tension.

The state, which feels disproportionately badly affected by the policy of the president, sued the government no less than 24 times: against Trump’s policies on immigration, health, energy, the environment, climate change, his border wall, his ban on transgender people, …

For his part, Trump retaliated by suing against the protection that Californian cities offer to undocumented migrants. …

California is about to approve a plan to protect the water level of the Sacramento, the San Joaquin and their tributaries for the benefit of fish and wildlife. …

Today, only twenty percent of San Joaquin’s water and less than half of that of the Sacramento reaches the delta northeast of San Francisco. So, things are bad for fish stocks in California. The number of surf smelts has reached an all-time low. The same applies to the chinook salmon. …

The fishermen say that the extinction of the fish stocks threatens their income and future.

Trump’s tweets therefore have nothing to do with the forest fires, but everything with an old Californian water war, in which Trump chooses radically … against the ecologists and the fishermen.

How the Trump administration is seriously politicizing California’s catastrophic wildfires.

TRUMP CUTS OFF AID TO CALIFORNIA Trump has ordered the Federal Emergency Management Agency to cut off federal wildfire relief for fire-scorched California until state officials “get their act together.” The move is likely an attempt to pin the devastation on environmentalists while ignoring the clear impact climate change is having on extreme fires out west. [HuffPost]

10 thoughts on “California, wildfires and Trump attacks

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