President Donald Trump shrugged off climate change as a key factor in the historically disastrous wildfires ravaging the West Coast, telling reporters on Monday that clearing forests of dead leaves and trees that can “explode” is what’s necessary to limit the impact.
Arriving in California to survey the damage of the fires, the president said a “lot of things were possible” when asked if the changing climate was worsening the fires. “With regard to the forest, when trees fall down, after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry and like a match stick,” the president declared. “There is no more water pouring through them. They just explode. They can explode.”
After saying “years of dried leaves” also need to be cleaned up in forests as it’s “fuel for a fire”—a reference to his infamous “raking” solution to forest fires—the president said leaders of “forest” nations in Europe told him forest management was the key to preventing fires.
“He said we have trees that are more explosive in terms of fire than they have in California, and we don’t have any problems because we manage our forests,” Trump concluded. “We have to do that in California.”