Wildfires

Andrew Wheeler blames forest management as cause of wildfires

Andrew Wheeler.
Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Acting EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler told senators during his confirmation hearing Wednesday, "I think the biggest issue with wildfires is forest management ... not drought."

Why it matters: Studies show that climate change, which is leading to hotter, drier summers in California, is tied to the sharp increase in large wildfires in that state and other parts of the West, along with a lengthening fire season, Axios' Andrew Freedman notes. Forest management and population growth are also factors, but they don't explain the entire situation.

Trump threatens to end FEMA funds for California wildfires

Trump with officer in california
President Trump views damage from wildfires in Malibu, California. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump threatened to cut off FEMA funding for California's wildfire relief in a Wednesday tweet, blaming the state's poor land management.

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen. Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

Our thought bubble from Axios science editor Andrew Freedman: Climate change is extending wildfire season year-round and increasing the frequency of extreme fires that spread quickly and are harder to contain. Forest management, including "raking" brush, which President Trump has previously advocated, would reduce only some of the risk, fire experts have told Axios.

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