Fueled by climate change, a rainy spring followed by an extremely dry summer and fall, a crumbling utility grid infrastructure, the entire state of California has turned into tinder for thousands of fires sparking up and down the state. As of today, there are seven active fires. This year, there have been over 6,000 fires, which were comprised of 200,000 acres, almost 800 structures and 3 lives destroyed.
And yet, the dementia-addled nitwit in the Oval Office decides that his official declaration to Californians is, "Too bad, so sad. Blame your (Democratic) governor!"
Trump, in a series of tweets, lauded the efforts of firefighters but accused (California Governor Gavin) Newsom of catering to environmentalists instead of focusing on fire deterrence.
"Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help," Trump said. "No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states."
And he went back to his whole "rake the forest floor" fire mitigation argument that was loudly mocked during his visit with the Finnish president.
Okay, leave aside that this is not the first time he's threatened to cut off Californian aid, ignoring that he can't do that because it's Congress that allocates funding, what the hell is his obsession with forest floor management?
Most of the California wildfires are NOT in forests. Most of the ones that endanger lives and structures are in suburban areas amidst open chaparral spaces. What exactly does Trump think there is to clean? And then there's that niggly fact that almost 50 percent of California's lands are federally-owned, so what Trump thinks Gov. Newsom can do is questionable.
The reality is that there is blame to spread around on the state of California's wildfires: When then-Gov. Pete Wilson signed legislation deregulating the energy markets in California, he created an incentive for utility companies to defer maintenance on the grid in favor of profits and stockholder dividends.
Dave Roberts of Vox has done a series of articles on the thorny issues of trying to deal with fires in California. There are no easy answers. But it will be a big help to the entire nation when we put in representatives who can grok the basic concept of climate change.
But as Gavin Newsom responded this afternoon, we know who we shouldn't listen to.
And a little something from California's junior Senator: