California is now adopting a plan to fight forest fires that was widely mocked when it was first introduced by former President Donald Trump in 2018.
According to the Daily Mail, the Golden State will spend $500 million this year to thin its forests and clear out the dead trees and brush that fuel the fires, as well as conduct controlled burns to deprive any future fires of fuel.
Twelve-person crews will work through the 33 million acres of California forests to complete the work, which is expected to take until 2025, the Daily Mail said. Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom reportedly wants $2 billion next year for the effort, hoping to speed up the timeline.
According to Bloomberg, wildfires caused $16.5 billion in damage on the West Coast last year and destroyed 4.3 million acres of forest, an area larger in size than the state of Connecticut.
“They’re starting again”
Talk show hosts and media critics mocked Trump for suggesting “cleaning up” the forests to prevent fires early in his presidency, but he didn’t let the idea go.
While campaigning in 2020, Trump again brought up the wildfires, suggesting that he wanted to make California pay for its own fire damage if it didn’t take measures to remove dead trees and debris to prevent them from spreading as much.
“They’re starting again in California,” Trump said of the fires at a Pennsylvania rally in August of last year, according to Politico. “I said, you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests — there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they’re like, like, so flammable, you touch them and it goes up.”
He added: “Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.”
An early start
As Bloomberg notes, California is currently experiencing a drought that may bring wildfires early this year, or worsen them when they do come.
Gina Palma, a fire meteorologist with the Department of Agriculture who spoke with the outlet, expects a worse season than normal this year.
Conditions normal for July in the state are already happening now, a month ahead of schedule.
Hopefully, it won’t be a case of too little, too late for California. The program Trump suggested and that it has now adopted was common practice decades ago until environmental experts decided to stop the practice.