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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.

Confirmed Cases: 779491

Reported Deaths: 14893
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2585166330
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino51750858
Orange516461123
San Diego44007757
Kern31148340
Fresno27487355
Sacramento21171375
Alameda20364370
Santa Clara20129295
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16229329
Contra Costa15640198
Tulare15517256
Ventura12167142
Imperial11534312
San Francisco1064096
Monterey933765
San Mateo9332142
Santa Barbara8803109
Merced8719133
Kings715877
Sonoma6987114
Marin6522112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer340741
San Luis Obispo333227
Yolo273253
Butte272033
Santa Cruz21758
Sutter163110
Napa159213
San Benito127211
Yuba11127
El Dorado10584
Mendocino82218
Lassen7310
Shasta66814
Glenn5483
Nevada5035
Colusa5026
Tehama4874
Humboldt4826
Lake43310
Calaveras30513
Amador28616
Tuolumne2204
Inyo18714
Mono1632
Siskiyou1600
Del Norte1351
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc230
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 77°
Oroville
Clear
75° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 75°
Paradise
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 77°
Chester
Clear
60° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 60°
Red Bluff
Clear
76° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 76°
Willows
Overcast
77° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 77°
Most of the forecast will remain pleasant and seasonable with big changes possible by next weekend.
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