The Trump administration’s response to the devastating fires still raging across California has been deeply disappointing, even by their incredibly low standard. After Donald Trump blamed the fires on forest management and said that we need to “rake the forest floor,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has now blamed the deadly fires on “radical environmentalists.
Zinke made these comments in an interview with Breitbart on Monday.
“It’s not time for finger-pointing,” Zinke said, before immediately proceeding to point fingers. “We know the problem. It’s been years of neglect, and in many cases it’s been these radical environmentalists that want nature to take its course.…You know what? This is on them.”
Yes, the radical environmentalists who want to burn down all the forests, kill untold thousands of wild animals, burn down entire towns, and kill dozens of people. We all know them. Cut it out, guys!
The Los Angeles Times pointed out that the Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise and has killed at least 79 people, was not in fact caused by uncleared forests, but by intense winds and ongoing drought that left the area vulnerable to fast-moving fires. The area had actually been burned as recently as 2008, and trees were logged since then.
“It started out as a vegetation fire,” Jonathan Pangburn, who studies fire behavior for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Times, “When it reached the incorporated area, which is definitely a lot more urban and developed of an area, it turned into a building-to-building fire..”
The Woolsey Fire, which burned 1,500 structures in Malibu and killed three people, was not near any forest.
Zinke also reiterated Trump’s already disproved point about Finland’s fire management techniques.
“You look at Finland. I had an opportunity to live in Germany. Their forests are healthy. They don’t have catastrophic burns because they manage the forest,” he told Breitbart.
Germany, you may be aware, is a different country that Finland, whose president said over the weekend that he has absolutely no idea what Trump is talking about.