In his first statement regarding the Californian wildfires, Trump wrote on Twitter, “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing a massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” He further claimed that “the water was being foolishly diverted in the Pacific Ocean.” (Like really, Sir?)
The remarks came in just after few hours after the White House declared the wildfires as a major disaster and released an order for federal funding to aid recovery efforts.
Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of Cal Fire, the state’s fire agency, disdained Mr. President’s comments by stating, “We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires.”
A forestry specialist at the University of California, Berkeley, William Stewart stated that he believes Trump was referring to the ongoing conflict over apportioning water to irrigation as opposed to providing river habitat for the fish.
The argument has no relevance to the availability of water for firefighting. Cal Fire officials said, “Helicopters lower buckets into ponds and lakes to collect water and then use it to douse the wildfires, so there is no shortage of water.”
Californian water regulators are still negotiating over how much water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta should be flown down to the Californian farms and to the ocean and the river to ensure that enough fresh water is provided for the fishes to spawn and hatch.
Mr. Trump took on the farmer’s grievances during the 2016 presidential campaign in the language similar to his tweets.
He said during a May 2016 campaign rally in Fresno, “You have a water problem that is so insane, it is so ridiculous, where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea. They have farms up here, and they don’t get water.”
Mr. President further raised an issue while he wrote to the officials that they must also clear trees to stop wildfires. However, this statement was referred to as a valid statement by the forest experts and the scientists.
To address the wildfire risks, California is armed in advance with its policies.
California has allocated $256 million this year since the federal funding for minimizing wildfire risks was caught up in budget negotiations, noted Professor Westerling.
Professor Westerling said, “California is spending millions and millions of dollars on this while the federal government is sitting on its hands. And all that money is being raised because we’re putting a price on carbon.”
Federal efforts to address climatic change still face opposition from “The Trump Administration.”
Scientists also noticed that Trump’s statement missed on the factor of climatic change that has created a drier and hotter fire season. The U.S. President in the past too has brushed off this topic as a hoax, while his top cabinet officials questioning the time-honored science that human activity is the main reason behind global warming.
Michael F. Wehner, a senior staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, articulated that it is impossible to compute the probability of climatic change having an effect on forest fires.
However, it is difficult to evaluate how much of the problem can be blamed on the forest-management practices. The expansion of wildfire season can be a result of the longer and drier summer.
Dismissal of the role of climatic change in these wildfires is simply not correct.”, he further added.