California Wildfires: Finnish president says he doesn't recall mentioning raking to Trump when talking forest management

California Wildfires: Finnish president says he doesn't recall mentioning raking to Trump when talking forest management

The president of Finland has said he doesn't recall discussing raking leaves with Donald Trump in regards to the management of forests - which is awkward for Trump, because he's said exactly that.

Last week, Trump visited Paradise, California, to assess the damage of the deadliest and most destructive wildfires in the state's history, which have resulted in 1,200 people missing, and burned more than 140,000 acres of land, reports the BBC.

While he was there, he offered his thoughts on how other countries manage their forests, and said that he thought the reason the wildfires were so bad in California was because of forest mismanagement.

He also claimed to have spoken to the president of Finland, who reportedly gave him tips on how to prevent wildfires when they were both in Paris for Armistice Day events.

Speaking to gathered reporters, he said:

You gotta take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important.

He then continued:

You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story. 

I was with the president of Finland and he called it a forest nation, and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem.

And when they do, it’s a very small problem.

Right, Mr President, so the devastating wildfires can be contained with... raking.

His comments drew ridicule from Californians, experts on climate change, and Finnish people, who have been taking to Twitter to post pictures of themselves raking, with the hashtag #haravointi, which literally translated means simply 'raking'.

The Finnish president Sauli Niinistö also countered the claims. Speaking to a local newspaper, he said that he'd never discussed 'raking' leaves with Mr Trump.

Speaking to Ilta Sanomat, he said:

I mentioned him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network.

He also said that he remembered using the phrase 'we take care of our forests', however raking wasn't brought up in the conversation. Niinistö then added that he thought perhaps raking came into Trump's mind after seeing firefighters raking the burnt down areas in California.

The forestry director of the Finnish Forest Association Heikki Savolainen was also amused by the comments. Speaking to the paper, he said that 'raking' is not any kind of silvicultural measure.

He added:

Those statements were very interesting. I see raking only in my own yard. It belongs to yards and parks.


More: Trump said other countries do a better job of cleaning 'the floors of the forest'

More: California wildfires: Firefighters blast Trump's 'ill-informed' tweets blaming disaster on 'mismanaged forests'

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