The Carr Fire as well as other wildfires burning throughout California have taken the lives of two firefighters, killed five civilians, burned over 1,000 homes and forced thousands to evacuate. Until this weekend, President Donald Trump remained silent on the tragedy unfolding on the west coast.
Sunday evening, Trump posted his first tweet about the wildfires. Instead of encouraging words for the people displaced, the families of those who died or the fire service fighting the fires, the President took the opportunity to attack California environmental laws. The since deleted, then reposted tweet stated:
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. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"
The revised version, posted Monday evening, remains largely the same except an "s" added to the word "amount" and the word "from" was added.
California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing m… https://t.co/V94EEYqoHv— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1533592422.0
Trump followed up his Sunday tweet with one Monday morning. This one targeted California Governor Jerry Brown specifically. And made less sense than the first one to outside observers.
Governor Jerry Brown must allow the Free Flow of the vast amounts of water coming from the North and foolishly bein… https://t.co/sXdONgMLZg— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1533577437.0
But the one group not addressed in Trump's Twitter posts, the California Fire Service, refuted the President's claims.
.@CAL_FIRE says it has "no idea" what Trump's talking about in regards to "bad environmental laws" making Californi… https://t.co/O5n7QWJ6iq— Brianna Sacks (@Brianna Sacks)1533522708.0
Trump blames California environmental laws for wildfires. Not true, say fire officials. “We have plenty of water to… https://t.co/n8UOTtLm9A— Paul Rogers (@Paul Rogers)1533594813.0
.@CAL_FIRE, again, responding to Trump's 2nd tweet about California diverting water to Pacific Ocean, hampering fir… https://t.co/akJYhGozzG— Brianna Sacks (@Brianna Sacks)1533584672.0
So what is Trump talking about and why?
For those unfamiliar with the internal politics of California, Trump refers to an ongoing battle between farmers and timber operations versus those who make their money off the environmental tourism trade as well as those who just want to protect natural resources.
As one Twitter user aptly summed up in their sarcastic response—joking that the "deep state" and California Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi keep farmers from getting the water they want while hinting their contribution to the overall California economy fails to warrant it.
Farmers want to divert more water out of the rivers rafters and kayakers use and timber operations want to clear cut the trees in areas popular among campers and hikers. But tourism pulls in over $120 billion dollars annually while agriculture brings only an estimated third of that total.
There is no love lost between Trump and Governor Brown. The President has attacked Brown and the state he leads several times on Twitter. Meanwhile, Brown posted only these messages on Twitter over the last several days.
Our thoughts are with the loved ones of the 2 firefighters we lost fighting the #CarrFire & with the many Californi… https://t.co/8YCbFraaB6— Jerry Brown (@Jerry Brown)1532709575.0
I want to personally thank all of the firefighters, emergency managers, first responders, national guard members, l… https://t.co/V86MhEwQEg— Jerry Brown (@Jerry Brown)1533241025.0
Grateful for all of the firefighters and emergency responders. You make California proud. https://t.co/DcKmBYeBSS— Jerry Brown (@Jerry Brown)1533487260.0
Brown's one (re)tweet that mentioned the President only announced a request for federal aid.
➡️After declaring a State of Emergency for Shasta County yesterday, @JerryBrownGov requests Presidential Emergency… https://t.co/2JpfuoUyoY— Governor Newsom Press Office (@Governor Newsom Press Office)1532735798.0
However when asked about the impact of climate change on the fires during a press conference last week, Brown stated the "predictions that I see, the more serious predictions of warming and fires to occur later in the century, 2040 or 2050, they're now occurring in real time."
You can expect that—unfortunately—to continue intensifying in California and throughout the Southwest."
People on Twitter shared reactions to Trump's tweets regarding the fires as the following tweets show.
Some took the President to task for his timing and choice of message.
@realDonaldTrump Did you just hear about CA fires today?— Heidi Stevens (@Heidi Stevens)1533589143.0
Why doesn’t @realDonaldTrump come look the firefighters and victims in the eye when he makes up this nonsense about… https://t.co/mFZAIsHcDA— Clara Jeffery (@Clara Jeffery)1533582976.0
Forest fires are mostly fought by digging fire lines and chemicals and river water naturally flows into the Pacific… https://t.co/gBIGpqZQUq— Clara Jeffery (@Clara Jeffery)1533583125.0
@ClaraJeffery @realDonaldTrump I'm surprised he knows water puts out fire.— Natalie Danford (@Natalie Danford)1533583180.0
@ClaraJeffery @realDonaldTrump He'll only come to throw paper towels— @suzieq (@@suzieq)1533583173.0
But some point to a Washington connection for the Trump tweets, and not with Pelosi. Instead people cited California Republican Representative and vocal Trump supporter Devin Nunes.
Devin Nunes told you to say this didn’t he? -AJ https://t.co/IZjPsigADR— Andrew Janz (@Andrew Janz)1533534381.0
Trump’s crazy cal fire tweets are pretty good evidence of an open unmediated channel between him and Devin Nunes, imo— southpaw (@southpaw)1533587676.0
And of course the nature, scope, and duration of behind-the-scenes communication between Trump and Nunes is interes… https://t.co/BfLWKrIw93— southpaw (@southpaw)1533588046.0
The theory gained traction when Nunes retweeted the President's attack on California environmental laws, thanking Trump.
Thx @realDonaldTrump for bringing much needed attention to our flawed environmental policies! Forests should be ma… https://t.co/8cMuxPhVFs— Devin Nunes (@Devin Nunes)1533528874.0
California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, better known as CAL Fire, recently reported the Casner Fire is 75% contained, Carr Fire is 45% contained and Turkey Fire is 60% contained.
#TurkeyFire [update] near Highway 46 and Turkey Flats, near Parkfield is now 2,225 acres and 60% contained. Forward… https://t.co/YkNmt13TQ9— CAL FIRE (@CAL FIRE)1533596267.0
For updates on their efforts on all the wildfires they are currently fighting, you can follow them on Twitter @CAL_FIRE.