On his radio program, Sean Hannity argued that President Donald Trump “was right about California wildfires” when he blamed them on poor forest management. Like his fellow Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who also argued that Trump was right on her radio program, he also made no mention of climate change.
But the Associated Press reported that, according to fire scientists, "forest management did not play a major role" in the latest California wildfires. As the article explained, “Nature provides the dangerous winds that have whipped the fires, and human-caused climate change over the long haul is killing and drying the shrubs and trees that provide the fuel.” And, as Popular Science noted, “Firefighters immediately pointed out errors in Trump's assertions. The Woolsey Fire started not in a forest but on a hillside near Simi Valley before spreading to suburban communities, while the Camp Fire is burning in an area thinned by fire 10 years ago.”
From the November 19 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): People got angry at the president talking about forest management, but the president's right. You know, if you have 76 people dead, you have entire -- this is not the first time these fires have hit California, and we gotta start asking some really tough questions. And why do we ask questions? So we can prevent tragedy from ever happening in the future.
It shouldn't be a Republican versus Democrat issue, for some they'll make it that. It shouldn't be a “we care about the land and you wanna rape and pillage the land for profit” argument either. It should be, you know, a fundamental analysis. If you're worried about air quality, look at the damage to the environment this buyer is doing. And, you know, you're talking about hundreds of thousands of acres now that have been burned out here. And, as The Wall Street Journal has said, there's no reason for the massive, deadly, costly forest fires in California except forest management is so poor. And when the president tweeted out billions of dollars are given every year, and that billions are spent to prevent these tragedies, and it's because there's gross mismanagement in terms of forestry.
And then you get into some of the politics of it, which I wish we didn't have to get into, and the president went out there and pledged to the governor Jerry Brown -- even Jerry Brown, by the way, admitted that Trump was right about California wildfires. Governor Brown appears to have quietly admitted that Trump's suggestion about improving California forestry was correct, and is now urging state lawmakers to loosen restrictive logging regulations put in place to appease environmentalists. The Santa Cruz Sentinel has reported that Brown is now proposing one of the most significant changes to the state's logging rules in nearly half a century. And Governor Brown is now proposing broad new changes to California's logging rules that would allow landowners to cut larger trees and build temporary roads without obtaining a permit as a way to thin more forests across the state. Well, that's good for everybody, because they're doing the work for you, you don't have to pay for it, and secondly it obviously creates a safe barrier. There's gotta be some areas in there.
Now, apparently California environmentalists just aren't on board even yet. They've been pushing for years to make California's logging rules the most restrictive, and in the wake of these fires, you know, one's gonna imagine that people's attitudes about this are going to change. But, under Brown's proposal, private landowners would then be able to cut trees up to 36 inches in diameter, up to the current 26 inches, up from there, on property 300 acres or less without getting timber harvest permits from the state. I mean it's all about money too for the states. But here's what we know, is that the president is right in what he's saying, and he was right, and he is right. And we know because it keeps happening. And we know because these laws, restrictive laws, have been in place forever in California. And when you have 57 percent of California forest land owned by the federal government, and they're spending billions to do these things, and even with the money there they're not allowed to do these things, I think that -- that creates this environment, where you have 130 million dead trees in California, you couple that with drought. By the way, that's just between 2010 and 2017. Some of it because of drought, some of it because of bark beetle infestation. You have a dense forest, that puts trees at greater risk for some type of parasitic infection, enables fires to spread faster. When trees -- when dead trees fall, they add more combustible fuel. Now, there was a time when U.S. Forest Service, their mission was to actively manage the federal government's resources, yet numerous laws over the last 50 years, including the Endangered Species Act, National Environmental Policy Act, have all hampered tree clearing, controlled burns, and timber sales on federal land. And restricting even homeowners from cutting down a tree on their own property. I know on my own property, to get a tree cut down on my own property, for whatever reason -- by the way, I like all my trees. I don't wanna cut them all down, but some need to be cut down. You gotta get a permit to cut down a tree, it's ridiculous.