Fact Check By: Craig Jones, Newswise

Truthfulness: Mostly False


President Donald Trump, in a briefing on Western wildfires on Monday, continued to reject the role of climate change in California’s fire season and blamed California and other states for not managing forest land properly.

Claim Publisher and Date: President Donald Trump in Sacramento on Monday on 2020-09-14

On Monday,  before a briefing in Sacramento, California with state officials, President Tump repeated his argument that the affected states' poor forest management was the cause of the horrific wildfires in the western states. 

“When trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become really dry. They become really like a matchstick.... and they just explode... Also leaves, if you have years of leaves, dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up. It’s really a fuel for a fire. So they have to do something about it.”

However, the notion that the blame rests solely on the state of California is mostly false. Of the 33 million acres of forest in California, roughly 57% is owned and managed by the U.S. Forest Service or federal Bureau of Land Management, according to a report by the state’s Little Hoover Commission. State and local governments control only 3%, while the rest is private. 

During the briefing, responding to comments from Wade Crowfoot, Secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency, the president said: “It will start getting cooler. Just you watch.”  “I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot said. “I don’t think science knows,” Trump responded.

Climate change, primarily caused by the burning of fossil fuels, is increasing the frequency and severity of wildfires not only in California but also all over the world. Since 1950, the area burned by California wildfires each year has been increasing, as spring and summer temperatures have warmed and spring snowmelt has occurred earlier.  -California Air Resource Board*



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