Trump Blames California Wildfires on Poor Environmental Laws


"We have plenty of water" for battling the massive blazes burning in hills north of San Francisco, said Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Cal Fire says the Mendocino blaze, still only 30% contained, has destroyed more than 140 structures and could be a threat to thousands more, reports USA Today.

The 3,900 crews battling the Mendocino Complex on Monday were focusing on keeping flames from breaking through fire lines on a ridge above the foothill communities of Nice, Lucerne, Glen Haven and Clearlake Oaks, Tricia Austin, a spokeswoman for Cal Fire said.

In addition, Cal Fire has been engaged in a clearance operation since the fires began to halt their advance; one of the fatalities recorded was a bulldozer operator engaged in clearing operations when his bulldozer slipped.

The Mendocino Complex Fire has scorched a little more than 443 square miles, an area larger than the city of San Diego and nearly as large as Los Angeles, and it could still grow. The current spate of wildfires happens to be within range of large Northern California lakes and the state's biggest river, McLean said.

Firefighters were battling the Mendocino Complex blaze supported by helicopters and airplanes - including two enormous DC-10s and a 747 jumbo jet - that doused the flames with water. Jerry Brown's (D) request for a major disaster declaration, which makes additional federal funding available for fire response and provides assistance to evacuees in Shasta County. And fire experts said it's the state's hot and bone-dry conditions, not environmental laws, that are making blazes more extreme.

Deputy fire chief Mr Mclean dismissed Mr Trump's comments to U.S. media, saying firefighters had "plenty of water" to carry out their work.

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Trump's tweet comes after California water officials ignited a debate this summer by proposing a plan to limit the amount of water that can be drawn from the San Joaquin River for use in cities and farmlands.

The Pentagon said yesterday it would send 200 soldiers to help firefighters to fight the fires.

While containment grew to 47 percent, burned acreage grew over the weekend, as well, now sitting at 164,413 acres burned.

The Northern California fire is located near Clear Lake, just south of the Mendocino national forest. The two fires, which have threatened more than 9,000 structures, have not merged, but officials are counting them as one. We're looking at long-term trends that are alarming for us, especially how quickly they are burning and how much damage they are causing and how deadly they are.

Seventeen wildfires are burning up and down California. Firefighting aircraft can dip in and out of cattle ponds or other small bodies of water to scoop up water for dropping and spraying on flames.

The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park has killed two and has charred about 91,000 acres.