President Trump was in California Saturday to lend support to the state grappling with historic wildfires. Trump toured the devastated town of Paradise with California Gov. Jerry Brown and Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom. During a brief Q&A with reporters, the president was asked if such catastrophic fires were avoidable in the future. Last week, Trump had this to say about fires in the state:
On Saturday, the president of the United States, in a rambling, largely diplomatic answer, suggested that if Californians did more raking of the forest floor, like Trump said they do in Finland, then the forest fire problem could be solved.
Reporter: Is there any way to prevent this from happening again, Mr. President?
Trump: We have been talking about that on the ride over. I think we’re all on the same path. We have to do management, maintenance, and we will be working also with environmental groups. I think everybody has seen the light. And I don’t think we will have this again to this extent. We’ll have to work quickly, but a lot of people are very much—there has been a lot of study going on in the last little while, and I will say I think you’re going to have, hopefully, this will be the last of these, because this was a really, really bad one. I know Gavin is committed, we’re all committed, to getting all of this cleaned out and protected.
We have to take care of the floors, the floors of the forest. It is very important. You look at other countries, they do it definitely and it is a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland and he said, “We’re a forest nation.” 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 it is, it is a very small problem. So I know everybody is looking at that … to that end. And it’s going to work out, it’s going to work out well.