Politicizing the wildfires out West: Trump’s fault, says L.A. mayor

by WorldTribune Staff, September 13, 2020

President Donald Trump has pledged federal aid for western states devastated by wildfires this summer.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that if Trump really wanted to help, he should acknowledge climate change and get the U.S. back in the Paris climate accord.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. / C-SPAN

“It’s been very clear that years of drought, as we’re seeing, whether it’s too much water and too much rain in parts of our country right now, or too little, this is climate change,” Garcetti said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “And this is an administration that’s put its head in the sand while we have Democratic and Republican mayors across the country stepping up to do their part.”

The Trump administration gave its one-year notice of withdrawal from the Paris accord on Nov. 4, 2019, which means the official exit may take place Nov. 4, the day after the election.

“This is an administration and a president who wants to withdraw from the Paris climate accord later this year, the only country in the world to do so,” said Garcetti. “It seems like this administration is the last vestiges of flat earth society of this generation.”

While Garcetti attempts to lay the blame on climate change and Trump, the president said the fires are largely the result of poor “forest management.”

Katy Grimes, editor of the California Globe and a long-time investigative journalist in California, noted on Sept. 8: “For decades, traditional forest management was scientific and successful, until ideological, preservationist zealots wormed their way into government and began the 40-year overhaul of sound federal forest management through abuse of the Endangered Species Act and the no-use movement.”

Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican, warned: “Our forests are now catastrophically overgrown, often carrying four times the number of trees the land can support. In this stressed and weakened condition, our forests are easy prey for drought, disease, pestilence and fire.”

Grimes added: “Today, only privately managed forests are maintained through the traditional forest management practices: thinning, cutting, clearing, prescribed burns, and the disposal of the resulting woody waste. And private lands do not suffer the wildfires the rest of the state does.

“Yet the same climate change impacts private lands as public lands, but private forests are not burning down because they are properly managed. Or if a fire does break out on privately managed forest land, it is often extinguished more quickly and easily because the trees aren’t so close together, and the underbrush has been cleared away.”

Trump has called for more aggressive forest management, including more “raking” to clear debris from the forest floors that fuel the wildfires.

Garcetti said that “we need real action” to reduce carbon emissions.

“We need to actually reduce the carbon emissions that we have,” Garcetti said. “We need to make sure we can manage that water. This is not just about just forest management or raking, anybody who lives here in California is insulted by that quite frankly, and he keeps perpetuating this lie.”

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