Donald Trump Says People Not Raking Their Leaves Are Bigger Factor In California Wildfires Than Global Warming

Donald Trump Says People Not Raking Their Leaves Are Bigger Factor In California Wildfires Than Global Warming
Alex Edelman-Pool / Getty Images

Donald Trump think he knows the real reason for the deadly California wildfires — people forgetting to rake their leaves.

On Friday, Trump addressed the fires in an interview with Chris Wallace of Fox News. Trump claimed that these fires were the result of “poor management” of California’s forests. As Deadline noted, Trump said he saw firefighters raking leaves under trees where the fires were raging and said the fire could potentially have been stopped if someone had just raked them earlier.

“I was watching the firemen the other day and they were raking areas, they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” Trump claimed. “And they’re raking trees, little trees like this that are not trees, little bushes that you could see are totally dry. Weeds. And they’re raking them, they’re on fire. That should have been all raked out. You wouldn’t have the fires.”

It was unclear who Trump suggested would be raking leaves in the middle of a forest, and he did not give any more specifics to his theory. No other authorities have suggested that raking leaves contributed to the wildfires, and Trump offered no evidence of his claim.

When Wallace asked if climate change played a role given that it has been hotter and drier due to higher temperatures, but Trump insisted that “management” of the forests is the biggest problem. As critics have noted, the majority of forests in the state of California are actually owned by the federal government.

The California wildfires have claimed 66 lives so far, with more than 600 still reported missing. Most of these were from the fast-moving Camp Fire in the northern part of the state, with three people killed by the Woolsey Fire in Malibu.

While experts did agree that forest management played a role in the growth and spreading of forest fires, they have also cited a number of other factors, including the effects of global warming. A report from Voice of America also noted that the current fires did not start in forests, but instead on privately owned land in Los Angeles suburbs and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains.

A recent report from the state of California also disagrees with Donald Trump, noting that greenhouse gas emissions have greatly contributed to the rise in wildfires and that the average area affected by these fires could increase by 77 percent if global temperatures continue to rise at the same rate.