Washington D.C. — President Donald Trump, after his visit to the fire-ravaged area of California last year, decided to show the country how to prevent wildfires by raking the lawn at the White House.
Mr. Trump came under fire from critics when he attempted to compare wildfire fuel conditions between California and Finland. On Saturday, Mr. Trump commented that forest management, particularly forest floors, were to blame for the Paradise disaster.
“We’ve got to take care of the floors, you know, the floors of the forest. It’s very important,” the president said and suggested that “raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem, and when it is … I know everyone is looking at that.”
According to the California Department of Forestry, the Camp Fire, which decimated the Sierra Foothills town of Paradise, was more of an urban fire than a traditional wild or forest fire.
“It started as a vegetation fire. When it reached the incorporated area, which is a lot more urban and developed of an area,” said Jonathan Pangburn, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, “it turned into a building-to-building fire … no longer carrying through most of the vegetation, especially in the upper canopies in the trees. It was not a crown fire through the Paradise area.”
Upon returning to the White House, Mr. Trump donned a burgundy sweater on the South Lawn and spent about 3 minutes raking a few dozen leaves placed by aides. The president appeared annoyed by the activity, initially holding the rake backward. Sources close to him said he did not enjoy the experience.