Trump Makes Head-Scratching Claim About California Wildfires

Trump Makes Head-Scratching Claim About California Wildfires

Trump Makes Head-Scratching Claim About California Wildfires

Pacific Gas and Electric spokeswoman Melissa Subbotin says the worker sustained fatal injuries in a vehicle-related accident Saturday on the western edge of the Carr fire in Shasta County. One said his crew had slept - sitting up - in the seats of their fire engine on some nights.

Trump's suggestion that environmental laws were somehow compounding wildfire woes drew derision on Twitter.

US President Donald Trump declared the fires a "major disaster" in California and ordered federal funding to be made available to help recovery efforts. "It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean", Trump wrote. "Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!" - tweet Sunday.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for evidence to support Trump's tweet. Henri Grissino-Mayer, a geography professor at the University of Tennessee, said he had "no clue" what Trump was referring to in his tweet.

As for water "being diverted into the Pacific Ocean", while there is a debate raging in California about how much water should be diverted to coastal communities versus farmers in the central part of the state, water is not being intentionally flushed into the ocean.

His missive drew exasperated sighs from many including authorities at CalFire: "We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires", Daniel Berlant, the agency's assistant deputy director, told The New York Times.

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The SAFD hopes its crew will help in the fight, adding to the more than 4,700 fire personnel who are now battling the Carr Fire.

As a Reason Foundation study noted, the U.S. Forest Service, which is tasked with managing public wildland, once had success in minimizing widespread fires in the early 20th century. The Carr Fire has burned 163,207 acres (66,048 hectares) as of this morning and is 45 percent contained, according to Cal Fire. Officials say the flames threaten more than 9,000 structures.

Add California Wildfires as an interest to stay up to date on the latest California Wildfires news, video, and analysis from ABC News.

Nationally, wildfires have burned about 5.1 million acres this year, about 1.1 million acres above the 10-year average for the seven-month period, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The Thomas Fire scorched a much more densely populated area, burning through 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more.

The Department of Defense has also provided five aircraft to aid in fighting the wildfires, four C-130 cargo planes outfitted with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems and an RC-26 surveillance plane, being used to monitor and map wildfires, Manning said. "These hazards, along with extreme fire behavior and frequent weather changes, have made this an extremely hard fire fight", according to the NPS statement.

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