The Most Populous State in the U.S. Is on Fire, and Donald Trump Hasn't Said a Word

As Californian officials continue their battle against wildfires in the southern half of the West Coast, President Donald Trump has still yet to address the roughly 300 blazes that have broken out across the state over the past week.

There are at least 7 active large fires burning in California, which has so far covered around 97,500 acres. The National Weather Service issued its first-ever "Extreme Red Flag Warning" on Tuesday evening local time amid the ongoing blazes, with Santa Ana winds that "could be one of the strongest of recent memory" for most of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

In recent months, the Trump administration has routinely targeted the homeless communities in San Francisco and Los Angeles as California continues to burn. According to experts, the president's push to roll back climate policies could worsen the Golden State's chances of increased natural disasters in the future. Last week, 50,000 Los Angeles residents were forced to evacuate their homes and most schools in San Fernando Valley were closed over safety concerns.

However, Trump has yet to publicly address the latest fires. In the past, the president has repeatedly blamed "gross mismanagement" for the devastating fires that have plagued the state. The latest Trump tweet about California's fires was shared in January.

"Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen," the president wrote. "Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!"

California fires
Inmate firefighters from Oak Glen Conservation Camp near Yucaipa, California fight the Easy Fire on October 30, 2019 near Simi Valley, California. David McNew/Getty

Months earlier, in November 2018, Trump had claimed that "there is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor."

Trump's remarks drew criticism from state officials and leaders of firefighters' organizations, with some accusing the president of focusing on politics while lives were at risk. His claims were also quickly debunked by scientists who say that most of the areas affected were outside of a forest and that climate change has fostered the conditions for the fires to thrive.

"Climate change is causing warmer temperatures, which dry out vegetation more," University of New Mexico biology professor Matthew Hurteau wrote in The Guardian. "It is also causing winter precipitation to fall over a shorter period and the length of the fire season is increasing. Vegetation in California is increasingly primed for fire."

Former Democratic Governor Jerry Brown on Tuesday condemned the Trump administration's push to water down Obama-era standards for fuel efficiency. "This is not just another legislative game here," Brown told the House Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Environment, according to the Washington Post.

"This is life-and-death stuff. And climate change is related to the fires in California. California is burning while the deniers make a joke out of the standards that could protect us all."

The Most Populous State in the U.S. Is on Fire, and Donald Trump Hasn't Said a Word | U.S.