California Will Spend $500 Million To Thin Forests To Prevent Fires


California is adopting former Donald Trump’s plan to thin out the state’s 33 million acres of forests with controlled burns and raking the woodland floor – after state officials essentially laughed off the former president’s idea a few years ago.

Trump had suggested in 2018 that the Golden State start sweeping its forest floors of debris that often aids in the spread of wildfires.

But by Aug. 2020, at the peak of the state’s wildfire season, his suggestion became an ultimatum when he withheld wildfire financial aid on the basis of California’s failure to clear its forests of dead trees, branches and leaves, Politico reported at the time.

Now, California is putting Trump’s plan into practice statewide as groups of 12-person crews set about a $500 million effort to thin the state’s forests with controlled burns and sweeping the forest floors of pines, redwoods and firs, according to a recent Bloomberg report.

‘I see again the forest fires are starting,’ Trump said at the 2020 rally in Pennsylvania. ‘They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up (in flames).’

‘Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us,’ he added at the time.

During the 2020 California wildfires, 31 people died and another 37 suffered non-fatal injuries due to 9,639 fires spread across the Golden State, according to the website Cal Fire, which tracks wildfires throughout the state.

Then-President Trump continuously blamed the Democrat-dominated state for not doing enough to prevent the widespread wildfires in 2018 and 2019 during his presidency, while threatening to withhold relief funds as environmentally-conscious Californians balked at his ideas.

‘I’ve been telling them this now for three years, but they don’t want to listen,’ Trump said at the August rally. ‘The environment, the environment,’ but they have massive fires again.’

While the state begins to implement Trump’s wildfire plan, those in the climate and forestry sectors continue to remain divided when it comes to the former president’s solution.

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Director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University Michael Wara admits that attempting simply being reactive and fighting fires as they start is ‘a forever war,’ he said.

‘You don’t win those. The solution is to change your strategy and really rethink what you are doing.’

For now, that solution is for a handful of 12-man crews, equipped w… (Read more)

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