Finland baffled over Donald Trump raking comments during California wildfire visit

Pauline Gross
November 19, 2018

Finland's president isn't sure where U.S. President Donald Trump got the idea that raking is part of his country's routine for managing its substantial forests.

The Finnish President told the newspaper that he meant to convey that although Finland is covered by forests, the nation has a good monitoring system which has helped to prevent catastrophic wildfires.

He told a local newspaper that he had briefed Trump on Finland's efforts to surveil and care for its forests, the Associated Press wrote, "but said he can't recall anything being mentioned on raking".

Forests cover over 70 percent of Finland's 338,000 square kilometers.

Speaking from the scene of the devastation on Saturday, the President refused to acknowledge environmental and climate factors, instead telling reporters of how they deal with fires in Finland.

"I did indeed meet president Trump and we had a conversation about forest fire prevention in Finland", he explained.

"I don't think we'll have this again to this extent".

"I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas".

"The fire was right over there and they were raking trees, little trees like this, nut trees, little bushes that you could see were totally dry, weeds".

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Trump has already drawn criticism for blaming the fires on mismanagement - his first tweet on the wildfires was an attempt to politicise the disaster with no mention of the victims.

"Just been out in the forest raking".

"His general sentiment is correct - that we need to manage fuels", said Yana Valachovic, a forest adviser with the University of California's Cooperative Extension program.

Aside from the current Camp Fire, three separate fires in 2017 also rank among the top-20 most deadly in the state's history.

"And they don't have a problem", Trump said.

"This is very sad", Trump said after surveying the remains of Paradise.

"Maybe it contributes a little bit but the big problem we have is management", he told Fox News. "And when they do, it's a very small problem, and when it is.I know everyone is looking at that".

For Armstrong, the erroneous remark added what she said was a new level of betrayal by the president.

Other reports by GizPress

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