Published: Mon, November 19, 2018
Research | By Jody Lindsey

Trump’s comment about raking to prevent wildfires gets lambasted by Finns

Trump’s comment about raking to prevent wildfires gets lambasted by Finns

Trump on Saturday told reporters in wildfires-ravaged northern California that forest fires were not a problem in Finland because the people in the Nordic country "spend a lot of time on raking" leaves and "cleaning and doing things".

Almost 1,300 names are on a list of people unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began in Butte County, authorities said late Saturday.

"Finland is a country covered by forests but we also have a good surveillance system and network" in case of wildfires, he said.

The fires have killed 79 people, and another 1,300 are missing, according to figures cited by ABC News.

Rain is forecast for the area this week, potentially helping douse the flames, but raising the risk of floods and mudslides that will swell the misery of 46,000 people under evacuation orders.

I think everybody's seen the light.

Trump visited Paradise on Sunday, to check out the damage for himself.

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea pleaded with fire evacuees to check the list of people reported as unreachable by family and friends and to call in if they are safe.

A view of a mobile home park that was destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 10, 2018 in Paradise, California.

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"We have been told we're to look as hard as we can, but it's still possible we may not be able to find something left of someone", Trish Moutard, a volunteer with the California Rescue Dog Association, told Reuters.

Trump's ideas about how to prevent forest fires have also prompted some puzzled reactions. Brown said Sunday he had been told the fires had spread "a football length - 100 yards - a second".

Mr Trump praised the emergency services.

"Hopefully this is going to be the last of these because this was a really, really bad one", Trump said of the fire.

"There have been some back and forth between California leaders and the president", Brown said.

He also suggested California's severe wildfires will make believers of even the most ardent climate change sceptics "in less than five years", and that those living near forests might need to build underground shelters to protect them from fires.

Finland has a notably different climate from dry California, being more than 20 degrees further to the north than the region hit by the Camp Fire.

He also visited Southern California, where firefighters were making progress on a wildfire that tore through communities west of Los Angeles from Thousand Oaks to Malibu, killing three people.

More than a week later, firefighters have managed to carve containment lines around 55 percent of the blaze's perimeter.

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