President Donald Trump has been criticised by firefighters, experts, and celebrities for his 'ill-informed' and 'wrong' response to the devastating wildfires that are currently ravaging the state of California.
The Camp Fire in Northern California has killed 23 and ravaged 108,000 acres; the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles has killed at least two and has burned nearly 85,000 acres; while the Hill Fire in Ventura County has scorched more than 4,500 acres, reports CNN.
In response, Donald Trump took to Twitter to blame the 'gross mismanagement of the forests', and then threatened to cut off federal payments if the 'poor' management wasn't remedied.
Taking to the social media site, he wrote:
He then followed up the tweet with another on 11 November, hammering home the same diagnosis of 'forest management' as the cause of the fires:
There are a number of things wrong with these tweets, and many firefighters, professors of forest management and wildfires, metrologists, and experts have been quick to call them out as 'ill-informed'.
First, many argued that 'mismanaged forests' are only one of a number of complex interwoven causes of the devastating wildfires, which include climate change, human building, and unprecedented weather events.
Many fire associations were quick to call out the president's tweets.
Speaking to CNN, the president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Harold Schaitberger, said:
His comments are reckless and insulting to the firefighters and people being affected.
The Pasadena Fire Association also took issue with the 'wrong' response. Writing on Twitter they said:
Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management.
Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHIN… https://t.co/Sb80VzOuy7
— Pasadena Fire Assn. (@Pasadena Fire Assn.)
The IAFF FireFigthers also countered the blame, calling it:
Irresponsible, Reckless and Insulting
In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire has forced many Hollywood stars from their homes, and the cause of the fire is not mismanaged forests. The affected areas aren't pine forests, but shrublands, meaning there's no forest to log.
Crystal Kolden, a former wild land firefighter and associate professor in forest rangeland and fire sciences at the University of Idaho, tweeted:
Right. I'm sure that there is a long list of logging companies waiting to log chaparral shrublands and oak woodlands and grasslands.
The most destructive and deadly fires in CA are NOT in forests. This is grossly irresponsible and uninformed.
Right. I'm sure that there is a long list of logging companies waiting to log chaparral shrublands and oak woodland… https://t.co/8ynaPveUyC
— Dr. Crystal A. Kolden 🔥 (@Dr. Crystal A. Kolden 🔥)
Rob Elvington, a metrologist, explained how for the last three months, California has been facing 'unprecedented' and 'record' levels of flash drought.
Pick your timescale. 1-week, 3-week, 6-week, 3-month EDDI all at record levels. Unprecedented dryness from heat,… https://t.co/ZzdwBtybnr
— Rob Elvington WAAY 31 (@Rob Elvington WAAY 31)
An unprecedented number of celebrities have been impacted by the fires, with many such as Caitlyn Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea and Gerard Butler being forced from their Malibu and California homes.
A number of celebrities also replied to Trump's tweet on Saturday, blaming the fires on climate change, and calling Trump's response 'heartless'.
Taking to Twitter, Katy Perry said:
This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing their homes as you tweet, evacuating into shelters.
This is an absolutely heartless response. There aren’t even politics involved. Just good American families losing t… https://t.co/wHkmRRiKak