SACRAMENTO (CBS13/AP/CBS) - On Thursday, as fast-moving wildfires destroyed homes and businesses across California, President Trump echoed a statement he made first in 2018: clean the forests.
Trump initially made the statement when he was visiting Paradise in 2018 after the destructive Camp Fire. When he was asked what could be done to prevent a similar disaster in the future, he said: "You gotta take care of the floors. You know? The floors of the forest. Very important," said Mr. Trump. "I was with the President of Finland and he said, 'We have a much different — we're a forest nation.' He called it a 'forest nation.' And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem. And when it is, it's a very small problem."
On Thursday during a campaign stop in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, Trump, once again, said to clean the floors of the forest.
"And I see again the forest fires have started. They're starting again in California.
"I said you've got to clean your floors, you got to clean your forests. They have many, many years of leaves and broken trees. And they're like, so flammable. You touch them and it goes up. I've been telling them this now for three years but they don't want to listen. The environment. The environment. But they have massive fires again, in California.
"Maybe we're just gonna have to make them pay for it because they don't listen to us. We say you got to get rid of the leaves you got to get rid of the debris you got to get rid of the fallen trees. You know, when a tree falls, after 13 to14 months it becomes extremely dry. You look at some of these fires they don't really catch where the trees are growing, because they're wet, the water's pouring up the tree. And they just don't want to listen."
Of the 33 million acres (13.3 million hectares) of forest land in California, 57% is owned and managed by the federal government, 40% by private landowners and 3% by the state, according to Newsom's office, Forest Unlimited and the University of California's Forest Research and Outreach center.
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