"This is on them": Trump administration faults "radical environmental groups" for California fires

Trump Administration continues to place blame on Californians for wildfires

Published November 20, 2018 4:25PM (EST)

Ryan Zinke (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
Ryan Zinke (AP/Carolyn Kaster)

The same day President Trump blamed California's forest mismanagement for the wildfires, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke heaped the blame on "environmental radicals" in the state.

In an interview with Breitbart News on Sunday night, Zinke backed up the president's controversial claim earlier that day that the wildfires were a result of the state's forest mismanagement. The secretary went even further to say that the fire that has devastated over 10,000 homes and 1 million acres of land is the result of environmentalist's efforts to preserve the forests and counteract climate change

"The president is absolutely right. This is as much about mismanagement over time," Zinke told Breitbart. "I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years and, you know what, this is on them."

On Saturday, Zinke and Trump paid a visit to the areas devastated by the fires, where both vowed to assist Californians during their recovery efforts. While Zinke agreed that "it's not time for finger-pointing," both the secretary and Trump found activists and Gov. Jerry Brown at fault for the overgrown forests which resulted in the fires.

Both Brown and Trump cite different phenomenon as the impetus for the fires' inception. Brown places the blame on climate change while Trump cites overgrown forests and environmental mismanagement. Char Miller, director of environmental analysis for Pomona College, shut both down as baseless claims. Miller cites growing human development in high-risk fire zones as the actual impetus for the disaster.

"Why is it that at the county, city, town level, we have repeatedly green-lit development in areas that we know are fire zones?" Miller told the LA Times. "Whether it is to allow a rock star to build on a ridgeline in Malibu or a manufactured-home community that nestles into the foothills, the decision is the same and the consequences are the same."

By Ryan Mikel

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California Wildfires Enviromentalism Ryan Zinke