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Scientists slam Trump’s Twitter rant about California wildfires

Warming-fueled wildfires threaten California's "whole way of life," warns Gov. Brown.

Strong winds blow embers from burning houses in Malibu, California on November 9, 2018. CREDIT: David McNew/Getty Images.
Strong winds blow embers from burning houses in Malibu, California on November 9, 2018. CREDIT: David McNew/Getty Images.

Fueled by climate change, biblical fires are raging at both ends of California.

The death toll in the fire that incinerated the city of Paradise hit 42, making it the most lethal fire in state history.

“Unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought, all those things, they’re going to intensify,” explained Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Sunday. “We have a real challenge here threatening our whole way of life.”

“This is not the ‘new normal,'” the Governor added. “This is the ‘new abnormal.’ And this new abnormal will continue.”

The other new abnormal — an inane tweet from President Donald Trump blaming the victims — also continued.

While actually threatening to withhold funds from the disaster-riddled state, Trump falsely asserted, “There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. ”

Many experts quickly pointed out just how wrong Trump was.

“Forest management wasn’t one of” the causes, University of Utah wildfire scientist Philip Dennison explained to the AP. Some of the blazes are in places that burned back in 2005 and 2008. That means they are not the kind of over-managed areas — kept largely free from fires — which can then become highly vulnerable “fuel-choked” forests.

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As as for the major Southern California fire, it is scorching shrub land. As Dennison noted: “It’s not about forest management. These aren’t forests.”

Similarly, the Pasadena Fire Association tweeted, “Mr. President, with all due respect, you are wrong. The fires in So. Cal are urban interface fires and have NOTHING to do with forest management. Come to SoCal and learn the facts & help the victims.”

This is the second time in three months that Trump has weighed in on wildfires and has subsequently been mocked by scientists.

“Climate change is a huge part of it,” NBC meteorologist Bill Karin explained Tuesday morning. “This is supposed to be the rainy season in November. What the firefighters have been saying is that it’s like a year-round fire season around there — the rainy season is arriving later and it’s ending earlier.”

Indeed, the science makes clear the wildfire season out west is growing.

Driven by climate change, Western wildfire seasons are growing longer.
Driven by climate change, Western wildfire seasons are growing longer.

What’s more, a year ago this month, Trump’s own White House signed off on the science behind increasing wildfires in the National Climate Assessment — the “authoritative assessment of the science of climate change.”

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The peer-reviewed analysis by scientists from 13 federal agencies notes that the scientific literature repeatedly warns of “the increase in wildfire risk resulting from the combined effects of high precipitation variability (wet seasons followed by dry), elevated temperature, and low humidity.”

The president should leave science to the scientists.