Trump: Camp Fire Preventable by Raking Leaves; Firefighters Say No

After seeing the devastation of the 2018 Butte Fire and Paradise Fire, President Trump told California forestry officials that the damage could have been prevented if California raked dead leaves in its state forests, reports ABC. Trump said that the Finnish president told him that their country, which is 70% forests, prevented fires using raking and other forest management techniques, says ABC. The Finnish president, in a reply, said he’d told Trump no such thing.

In a tweet, Trump threatened to cut off federal aid if California didn’t clean up its act:

There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year [by the federal government], with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!

  • BBC reports:

The president of California Professional Firefighters called the suggestion that forestry management was to blame “dangerously wrong,” according to BBC. The president of 30,000 member Cal. firefighter association said:

The President’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering…

  • CNN reports:

The Cal. firefighter president continued, “Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields” that contain dry grass, reports CNN. The firefighter chief said that “high winds, low humidity and geography” were also to blame, CNN reports.

A group of Northern California Fire Lawyers have alleged a different cause. The group said there was “pretty overwhelming” evidence that PG&E was at fault for the Camp Fire blaze, reports CNBC. Mike Danko, an attorney for the group, said there were witnesses and a “safety incident report” from PG&E made to the CA utility commission that all indicated PG&E’s equipment had started the fire, reports CNBC. The lawyers have filed a Camp Fire lawsuit against PG&E in California court over PG&E’s “negligence in the destructive wildfire,” CNBC reports.

Yana Valachovic, a forestry expert at the University of California (U.C.), said that “California’s climate and community design contributed to the blazes, along with faults in powerlines and other electrical equipment,” reports ABC. “Two electrical utilities companies said they had problems with equipment close to where the current blazes broke out around the time they were reported” to firefighters, according to ABC.

Users on Twitter also struck back at Trump’s threat to cut off aid to fire victims until California’s forestry service cleaned up its act, one user stating that “25,000 people lost everything and are now living in a tent or their car in a walmart parking lot,” and “2 weeks later where is FEMA?” ABC points out that 57% of forest land in CA is owned and managed by the federal government.

About Northern California Fire Lawyers

Northern California Fire Lawyers is a team of more than 30 attorneys from a coalition of three Northern California law firms: Corey, Luzaich, de Ghetaldi & Riddle, Danko Meredith and Gibbs Law Group.  Collectively, our fire lawyers have more experience investigating and bringing claims against PG&E than any law firm in California.  Our attorneys have been appointed by California judges to leadership positions in some of the largest fire and disaster cases, including the Butte Fire Cases, 2017 PG&E Fire Cases, and San Bruno Explosion lawsuits.

Our attorneys currently represent over 200 families who are victims of the 2015 Butte Fire that devastated over 70,000 acres.  We have earned hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts for our clients, and members of our team have been honored for their work with numerous awards, including “Top Plaintiff Lawyers in California,” “Trial Lawyer of the Year,” and “Top Women Lawyers in Northern California,” among others.

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Our wildfire attorneys are happy to answer any questions you may have. Call (530) 208-3062, or email us at to speak with a wildfire attorney, free of charge.