California Firefighters President Rips Trump’s Fire Tweet: ‘Ill-Informed, Ill-Timed and Demeaning’

On Saturday, POTUS threatened to pull federal aid due to “gross mismanagement of the forests”

Last Updated: November 10, 2018 @ 5:39 PM

California Professional Firefighters President Brian K. Rice has called Donald Trump’s threat to withhold federal aid as the California fires continue blazing “ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning.”

“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines,” he said in a statement on Saturday. “At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.”

On Saturday, President Trump tweeted that “there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments.”

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong,” Rice continued. “Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.”

The Woolsey fires broke out late Thursday, affecting the Thousand Oaks, Malibu, Calabasas, Agoura and Hidden Hills areas of Southern California.

Stars including Kim Kardashian, Lady Gaga, Caitlyn Jenner, Rainn Wilson and Guillermo del Toro have been forced to evacuate their homes, with “Doctor Strange” director Scott Derrickson tweeting he had lost his home.

The Woolsey fire doubled in size to 70,000 acres overnight. As of Saturday evening it was 5 percent contained.

Two people have been found dead in the burn areas, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Chief John Benedict confirmed early Saturday. In addition, Councilmember Bob Blumenfield said in a statement that over 250,000 people have been evacuated from the Ventura County fire areas, and the shifting winds could bring added destruction.

Later on Saturday, as the death toll from the fires climbed to 11, Trump tweeted that “our hearts are with those fighting the fires.”

Read Rice’s full statement below.

“The president’s message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is Ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines.

“At a time when our every effort should be focused on vanquishing the destructive fires and helping the victims, the president has chosen instead to issue an uninformed political threat aimed squarely at the innocent victims of these cataclysmic fires.

“At this moment, thousands of our brother and sister firefighters are putting their lives on the line to protect the lives and property of thousands. Some of them are doing so even as their own homes lay in ruins. In my view, this shameful attack on California is an attack on all our courageous men and women on the front lines.

“The president’s assertion that California’s forest management policies are to blame for catastrophic wildfire is dangerously wrong. Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography. Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California.

“Natural disasters are not “red” or “blue” – they destroy regardless of party. Right now, families are in mourning, thousands have lost homes, and a quarter-million Americans have been forced to flee. At this desperate time, we would encourage the president to offer support in word and deed, instead of recrimination and blame.”