Trump Reiterates Falsehood About California Water Diversions

Geneva Stokes
August 7, 2018

The Mendocino Complex Fire has charred more than 283,000 acres, making it the largest blaze in California's history.

The wildfires are "extremely fast, extremely aggressive, extremely risky", said Scott McLean, a deputy chief with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Firefighters have only contained a small part of the Mendocino Complex fire in the northern part of the state, and hot weather is setting the stage for the fire to spread even further.

Scott McLean, also a Cal Fire spokesman, said he doesn't understand the president's comments.

The Mendocino Complex Fire began a little more than a week ago with two neighboring fires burning through only 9,500 acres of land, then rapidly spreading - at one point, by almost 30,000 acres within hours.

"Fire season is really just beginning", Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said, explaining that such intense conditions used to come around the peak of the season.

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized", he said.

Fire crews from Australia and New Zealand have also flown over to share their expertise in battling bush fires.

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RUSH FIRE (Lassen County), August 2012 Acres burned: 271,911 in California (43,666 in Nevada) Structures destroyed: 0 Deaths: 0 5.

Crews will continue to work on tying in remaining containment lines on the River Fire, Cal Fire reported. Farther north, the Carr Fire is surrounded by multiple bodies of water from different directions: Shasta Lake to the east, Trinity Lake to the west and the Sacramento River snaking across the nearby city of Redding, to name a few. As of Monday, that fire burned through 163,000 acres and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

The tweets baffled state officials, who quickly pointed out that water supplies are not the problem. The Thomas Fire scorched a much more densely populated area, burning through 1,063 structures and damaging 280 more.

President Donald Trump is claiming that California's water policy is shortchanging firefighters of water to battle the state's raging wildfires.

Trump, in a tweet on Sunday evening, blamed the intensifying fires on "bad environmental laws" that he said divert water resources into the Pacific Ocean.

McLean said firefighters are using direct means to prevent the twin fires from reaching evacuated urban areas on the east side of Clear Lake.

With several major wildfires burning across California, officials suggested they would decide where to deploy the extra firefighters once they arrived. "We must be able to actively manage our forests and not face frivolous litigation when we try to remove these fuels".

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