More than 100,000 acres of land have been consumed by wildfires in California since Thursday night. Donald Trump would have you believe it’s all the state’s fault.
California’s “forest management” is to blame. Not the confluence of environmental factors that most experts have pointed out. In Trump’s view, California isn’t using federal funds correctly. He even threatens to cut the state off from that money in the future if something doesn’t change.
Yeah. That’ll show ’em.
Of course, the reality of what caused this fire (and so many others across the western U.S. in recent decades) is quite different. “Climate change” is the short explanation, since a warmer climate means more of the dry vegetation that helps to kindle and propagate these massive fires.
The current spate of fires is still unusual, however. As Mashable’s Mark Kaufman noted on Friday, we’ve reached the time of year when wildfire risks start to abate. As more rain starts to fall in mid-October and beyond, the dry conditions that feed these fires change.
Unfortunately, California is in the midst of a record-setting dry spell for the fall season. A lack of rain, coupled with strong, dry winds from the north and east, have combined to create the conditions needed for large fires to start, and then spread.
While fire-vulnerable communities can take steps to protect themselves by reducing the amount of vegetation in the surrounding area, it’s not an issue that is solved by federal funding (or exacerbated by mismanagement of those dollars).
Even setting aside Trump’s inability to appreciate the complexity of the situation — we’ve all been dealing with the same historically stupid leader since Jan. 2017 — the timing of his victim-blaming tweet is highly questionable, given the tragic impact the fires have had so far. Not to mention the fact that Thousand Oaks, one of the California communities affected by the fires, is still dealing with the fresh grief of a mass shooting.
Angry Twitter users were quick to school the president on all of this in the hours after his ill-advised (aren’t they all?) Saturday morning tweet.