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Trump calls on California to improve forest management

President Donald Trump is calling on California to do a better job with forest management to prevent deadly wildfires from happening. Action News Now Alan Marsden explains what exactly California is doing and if it is helping or hindering the fight against wildfires.

Posted: Sep 15, 2020 6:22 PM
Updated: Sep 15, 2020 6:32 PM

CHICO, Calif. – President Donald Trump is calling on California to do a better job with forest management to prevent deadly wildfires from happening.

The topic got a lot of attention following President Trump's visit to Sacramento on Monday. But experts like U.C. Berkeley Forestry Specialist, Dr. Bill Stewart, says no amount of forest management would prevent the kinds of fires California has seen lately.

Dr. Stewart says neglected forests can add to the problem. How closely trees are spaced and how much debris is beneath the trees determines the fire danger. Dr. Steward says private timber companies are doing a much better job of managing that – than the government could.

Despite being criticized by President Trump for poor forest management, Gov. Gavin Newsom requested more funding, pointing out that it is federal lands in the state that pose the biggest problem.

"The wind-driven fires we're having now…nothing is gonna slow those down,” said Dr. Stewart. “When you get high, 30 mph consistent winds, it does not matter what you did. It's gonna burn.”

"57% of the land in the state is federal forest land…3% is California,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom. “So, we really do need that support."

Dr. Stewart says there will never be enough money to manage forests as it is currently being done. It will require California to soften its rules and change its attitude about logging. While that may sound unlikely, he adds there are plenty of reasons to consider it.

Stewart points out that managed forests make up only about 20% of the land in California subject to wildfires. 80% is either wilderness or land covered by grass or shrubs.

Dr. Stewart says rather than always putting fires out, it may be necessary to start controlled burning of forestland, when winds aren't high, to provide buffer zones that can slow future wildfires down.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3074812

Reported Deaths: 35060
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103873814416
San Bernardino2569141560
Riverside2510002676
San Diego2185552174
Orange2165092508
Santa Clara949051129
Kern87240572
Fresno83200968
Sacramento811831128
Alameda68649788
Ventura62774462
San Joaquin58843788
Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43121766
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo32887309
San Francisco29502266
Solano25983107
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25333474
Merced24570316
Sonoma24184242
Kings19588148
Placer17490184
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13528151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10789138
Shasta9750123
Butte9528128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa767244
Lassen519916
San Benito500346
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323474
Mendocino319232
Amador302431
Lake262531
Humboldt242725
Glenn194820
Colusa17969
Calaveras162123
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
Sierra820
Alpine730
Unassigned00
Chico
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Hi: 62° Lo: 36°
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Oroville
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Chico
Clear
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Feels Like: 33°
Red Bluff
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36° wxIcon
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Feels Like: 30°
Red Bluff
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Hi: 60° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 30°
Chico
Clear
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Hi: 62° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 33°
We'll be staying dry today, but clouds will be increasing. Temperatures will be cooler today. We'll have even cooler temperatures, rain, and snow on the way in your Friday forecast. Heavier rain and snow are projected late this weekend and next week.
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