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California wildfire debate: poor forest management or climate change?

California’s wildfire season if off to its worst start in a decade and has already burned three times the acreage for all of 2017 which was considered a bad year.

More than 630,000 acres have burned in California so far this year, but what’s to blame, poor forest or water resource management or climate change?

President Trump entered the debate about why wildfires grip California every year using Twitter to blame state diversion of water to the ocean, bad environmental law and poor forest management.

“That’s simply not true”, says San Jose State University Climate Science Professor Eugene Cordero, “of course, some of the water that comes from the mountains, goes through the rivers and ends up in the Delta and out into the ocean, that feeds our natural ecosystem, and that’s certainly a part of our California water policy, but there is no shortage of water for our California firefighters.”

The federal Bureau of Reclamation manages most of the water flows in northern California and while most agree better forest management can reduce fuel for wildfires, as President Trump suggests, others say he’s ignoring the facts on climate change.

“He’s not saying our climate’s changing, we’re going to have to change our policies, he’s just kind of blaming, oh, maybe we can cut down some more trees and that’ll solve things”, Cordero said, “of course, that’s very shortsighted, but we do have to recognize that our climate is changing. and maybe this type of weather that we’re seeing fueling these fires are going to become more common.”

Cal Fire says controlled burns and other fuel reduction measures in recent years have been restrained by a lack of funding and opposition from environmental groups.

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