Trump: Mismanagement of forests to blame for California fires

US president says on Twitter that there is no reason for the forest fires ‘except that forest management is so poor’.

A firefighter battles the Woolsey Fire in Malibu
The monster wildfires still burned out of control on Saturday in northern and southern California [Reuters]

United States President Donald Trump has said “gross mismanagement of forests” is to blame for two unchecked wildfires burning in California, where nine people were killed and hundreds of thousands forced to flee.

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” he wrote in a Twitter post early on Saturday.

“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” he added.

The monster wildfires still burned out of control on Saturday in northern and southern California, after killing at least nine people, who were found dead in vehicles torched by the flames.

“This event was the worst-case scenario. It was the event we have feared for a long time,” Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said at a Friday evening news conference. “Regrettably, not everybody made it out.”

The remains of five of the victims in Northern California were discovered in or near burned out cars, three outside residences and one inside a home, Honea also said.

Another 35 people had been reported missing and three firefighters had been injured.

Fires continue 

On Saturday, in Los Angeles County, the 14,164 hectares Woolsey Fire was threatening 75,000 homes and more than 200,000 people were under mandatory evacuation early on Saturday.

Some of the evacuation orders were for residents within the City of Los Angeles in the West Hills area. It was unclear how many homes have been evacuated within the City of Los Angeles.


About 800km to the north, nine people were found dead in and around the Northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire.

These numbers make it one of the most destructive blazes in state history, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data. 

The flames descended on Paradise so quickly that many people were forced to abandon their cars and run for their lives down the sole road through the mountain town.

The Camp Fire, which broke out on Thursday at the edge of the Plumas National Forest northeast of Sacramento, has since blackened more than 90,000 acres (36,421.71 hectares) and was only five percent contained as of nightfall on Friday.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies