Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

ONE DAY left in this Mid-Year Campaign. This is our hour of need.
If you value independent journalism, please support Common Dreams.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.

The Camp Fire, burning through parts of Northern California, is now the state's most destructive wildfire ever. (Photo: CNN/Twitter)

In Victim-Blaming Response to California's Wildfires, Trump Ignores 'Inextricable' Link to Climate Crisis

"The lives of billions of people, Californians included, are at risk because of the denial of the Trump Administration."

Julia Conley

Critics of President Donald Trump shredded his first public comments of California's most recent wildfires on Saturday, denouncing both the cruelty of a victim-blaming tweet he posted and the president's active curtailing of efforts to curb the climate crisis, which has exacerbated extreme events like the fires.

Trump threatened early Saturday morning to end federal support for California's efforts to fight wildfires like the ones raging in the northern part of the state as well as near Los Angeles, scolding the state for what he deemed poor forest management.

The president's tweet came hours after he declared a state of emergency in California, opening up federal funds to help local and state officials battle the Camp Fire in the northern town of Paradise as well as the Woolsey and Hill Fires in the south.

It also followed reports that at least nine people have been killed by the Camp Fire, now the most destructive blaze in the state's history. More than 50,000 people have been forced to evacuate due to the fire and more than 6,700 buildings have been destroyed—including more than 80 percent of the homes in one town.

In Southern California, more than 200,000 residents have had to evacuate due to the fires raging near Los Angeles.

Several critics condemned the president for ignoring the reality of the climate crisis, as he has during other extreme weather events—while taking direct action to stop national and global efforts to curb the carbon emissions that have contributed to the planet's rising temperature and the resulting hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires.

"While California's climate has always been fire-prone, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable," wrote Kendra Pierre-Louis at the New York Times.

"Behind the scenes of all of this, you've got temperatures that are about two to three degrees Fahrenheit warmer now than they would've been without global warming," Dr. Park Williams, a bioclimatologist at Columbia University, told the Times. "In pretty much every single way, a perfect recipe for fire is just kind of written in California. Nature creates the perfect conditions for fire, as long as people are there to start the fires. But then climate change, in a few different ways, seems to also load the dice toward more fire in the future."

As he did last summer as fires raged in the state and elsewhere in the West, Trump alluded to forest management reforms in California as the solution to wildfires—comments which critics have said are the president's way of lobbying for forests to be opened up to the logging industry.

As Common Dreams reported in August after Trump's earlier comments on wildfires, wildfire expert Michael Kodas has said cutting down more trees would do little to help California avoid blazes like ones that have swept through the state this week. 

"A logging company would like to come in and remove the big, granddaddy trees that are really valuable as timber," Kodas told Wyoming Public Media at the time. "Most of what needs to be removed from these forests are brush, scrub, small, spindly trees that have been sick that have almost no economic value."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just ONE DAY left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

As US Rolls Back Reproductive Rights, Sierra Leone Moves to Decriminalize Abortion

"I'm hopeful today's announcement gives activists in the U.S., and especially Black women given the shared history, a restored faith that change is possible and progress can be made."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Indefensible': Outrage as New Reporting Shines Light on Biden Deal With McConnell

The president has reportedly agreed to nominate an anti-abortion Republican to a lifetime judgeship. In exchange, McConnell has vowed to stop blocking two Biden picks for term-limited U.S. attorney posts.

Jake Johnson ·


Assange Makes Final Appeal Against US Extradition

"If Julian Assange is not free, neither are we," said a protester at a Friday demonstration against the WikiLeaks founder's impending transfer. "None of us is free."

Brett Wilkins ·


'Payoff for 40 Years of Dark Money': Supreme Court Delivers for Corporate America

"It was the conservative court's larger agenda to gut the regulatory state and decimate executive powers to protect Americans' health and safety," warned one expert.

Jake Johnson ·


NARAL Pro-Choice Endorses Fetterman—Who Vows to End Senate Filibuster to Protect Abortion Rights

"We know we can count on him to boldly fight for abortion rights and access," said the head of one of the nation's largest reproductive rights advocacy groups.

Jon Queally ·

Common Dreams Logo