OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
As happens so frequently, Donald Trump has been proving correct again and the liberals who mocked him are having to eat crow.
In 2018 Trump said that California should start cleaning its forests of the debris on the ground in order to prevent wildfires, and liberals had a field day mocking him, but now they are doing precisely what he suggested.
“I see again the forest fires are starting,” he said at a rally in Pennsylvania, Politico reported. “They’re starting again in California. I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”
“Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us,” he said.
And he made good on his promise, later temporarily withholding federal funds from the state because it would not adopt his idea.
And as is so often the case, it is likely that they could not do what he said because they would rather have wildfires than to have given Trump credit.
“I’ve been telling them this now for three years, but they don’t want to listen,” he said. “‘The environment, the environment,’ but they have massive fires again.”
Now, armed with axes and chainsaws, teams of 12 men crews are attempting to thin the forest, utilizing a $500 million plan, Yahoo Finance reported.
It is a Sisyphean task. The state is home to some 33 million acres of woodland. An efficient crew, working with hand tools under ideal conditions, can get through a quarter of an acre a day, give or take.
And yet, after a succession of horrific, record-setting wildfire seasons, this is where the state now finds itself: So desperate to stem the tide and contain the losses — of both lives and property — that it’s plunking down more than $500 million this fiscal year alone for an effort that includes clearing pines, firs and redwoods. Without all this fuel on the forest floor, California officials contend, blazes will be less likely to turn into the mega-fires that devour thousands of acres. Dousing them once they erupt can’t be the lone strategy in a state already scarred by global warming, they say.
The question is whether this new push can be done at a pace and scale that’ll actually make a difference. In a best-case scenario, Governor Gavin Newsom hopes state and federal crews will be thinning out one million acres annually by 2025. He’s asking the state legislature to give him $2 billion to accelerate efforts in the fiscal year starting July 1. But even if his goal is achieved, it’d still leave millions of acres, and the communities that surround them, vulnerable for decades. And with temperatures soaring and drought conditions worsening across the state, it’s only a matter of time, scientists say, before the first of the big blazes of 2021 break out. Global Power Grids Pushed to Limit by Hot Weather, Rising Demand California’s plan to thin woodland is the latest sign of the increasingly extreme steps that governments around the globe are taking to cope with the ravages of climate change. While it’s a costly one, the state’s effort is necessary to break the cycle of devastating blazes, according to Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University. Simply fighting fires as they start is “a forever war,” he said. “You don’t win those. The solution is to change your strategy and really rethink what you are doing.”
They may have been able to save many lives, and millions of dollars, if they simply listened to Trump to begin with.