As a fast-moving wildfire, whipped by hot, dry Santa Ana winds, destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands to flee in California, thousands of firefighters risk their lives to battle what is dubbed as the fifth largest fire in state’s history by the officials.
Just recently, the raging wildfire took the life of a utility worker who was fighting multiple blazes in sweltering conditions near Northern California. The 20-year-old was the seventh person who had fallen victim to the immense blaze which has been ravaging the state for two weeks.
Amid the widespread destruction, President Donald Trump finally weighed in on the tragedy by tweeting a rather bizarre theory, blaming California for the blazes because it “diverts” water to the Pacific Ocean.
He also blamed the state’s wildfires on “bad environmental” laws and called for a “tree clear to stop fire spreading.”
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 5, 2018
However, what’s highly unusual was how the POTUS completely failed to offer condolences to the families of the victims, thank the first responders or offer any sort of reassurance or comfort to the residents who are afraid for their lives, homes and communities.
Moreover, it made little sense that Trump chose a time like this to zero in on the state’s water policy. In fact, he didn’t even bother to elaborate on what the basis of his bizarre claims were.
California reportedly allocates water to residents, industries and agricultural lands, and for wetlands and wildlife, including water assigned to protect endangered species. But state waters eventually drain into the ocean.
Also, as of yet, firefighters haven’t complained about lack of water for taming the blazes.
Nevertheless, Trump’s assertions left many environmentalists scratching their heads and they mulled over various possibilities of what could the president have really meant.
Many believed the POTUS might have seen reports from 2016 that noted some California reservoirs were releasing a portion of their water in a bid to prevent possible flooding during winter season.
Another possibility is the former business mogul might have come across a 2015 interview in which Andy Lipkis, the founder of the environmental nonprofit, Tree People, criticized California for "throwing away" rainwater by letting it "drain into the sea" rather than collecting it.
The tweet could also be a muddled indication of support for the California Republicans' recent collaboration with the Trump administration to bar a series of recently proposed changes regarding how the state allocates its water.
Whatsoever might be the case, the bigger question is how any of these claims would possibly help staunch California fires and comfort the ones in distress.
Trump’s latest mind-boggling tweet came days after his administration moved to scratch the stringent vehicle emission standards which were initially established by California. The move is expected to take a huge toll on the environment as it clears way for vehicles to release an additional 600 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030.
But the president apparently doesn’t pay any heed to the changes brought about by his own administration before blasting the state’s environmental laws for exacerbating the uncontrollable wildfires.
Moreover, it is important to mention most scientists believe the fires are becoming more frequent because of climate change, which Trump once said is a hoax created by China to harm the United States.
Social media users took to Twitter to blast the president for making unsubstantiated claims about such a grave matter and at the same time, failing to express concern for people who are suffering in the fire.
As a professor who specializes in wildfire management, there are a lot of things that are broken about how we prepare for & fight wildfires... but it’s near impossible to overstate how ridiculous this comment is. https://t.co/YTan7N1BEs— Eric Kennedy (@ericbkennedy) August 5, 2018
Must tree clear to stop fire? ??it's YOUR EPA and you with the "fake" climate control!— Granny7 ????don't take bullshit (@MsHenryof6kids) August 6, 2018
He's blaming "bad" environmental laws for the CA wildfires. He who refuses to acknowledge man made global warming with draught and ever increasing wildfires as results. He is an environmental criminal, directly responsible since he dragged USA out of the Paris agreement. 1/7/2017— Sir Henry Cuthbert—Purkiss. (@LouisSchadenbe1) August 6, 2018
I’m from California, and all I can say is “what the f#%k are you talking about” we have fires because of record heat and many years of drought.— Jhon (@jhonnohj123) August 6, 2018
Donald studied wildfires at Trump University.— Denis (@Diderotin) August 5, 2018
I think you meant to say: sending condolences to all the families that lost their loved ones in the California fire.We owe a debt of gratitude to the amazing firefighters who have battled and served under the worst of circumstances. Your Federal Government is here to support you— #LaurieNotMyPrez (@LaurieSpoon) August 6, 2018
No you #StableGenius, scientists have been seeing the fingerprints of #climatechangeall over these fires and it's making them far worse. Why don't you offer your condolences and then maybe read something aside from the McDonalds menu: https://t.co/agcMh1LnVP— MiroslavaKorenha (@M_Korenha) August 6, 2018
By "treeclear", I'm sure you're talking about logging. You're not interested in fire safety. All you want to do is destroy nature and make corporations richer.— Audrey (@AudreyK27) August 6, 2018
Banner Image Credits: REUTERS/Gene Blevins