CAL FIRE Chief calls President Trump’s wildfire claims ‘uninformed’

L FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott
CAL FIRE Chief Ken Pimlott. File photo.

In an interview Friday with KPIX, Ken Pimlott Chief of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection addressed the criticism lobbed Wednesday at California by President Trump during a cabinet meeting. The President said in part:

California’s a mess. We’re giving billions and billions of dollars for forest fires in California. There’s no reason for those fires to be like they are…

So I think California oughta get their act together and clean up their forests and manage their forests because it’s disgraceful.

What’s happening should never happen. I go all over the country. When I meet with governors the first thing they say is there’s no reason for forest fires like that in California.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

16 thoughts on “CAL FIRE Chief calls President Trump’s wildfire claims ‘uninformed’”

  1. Bill, leave politics out of you’re posts. It’s very obvious you are biased towards our President. You have always said you would leave politics out of Wildfire Today, but every time President Trump says or does something you dont agree with, you post it.

    1. Molon-

      I respect your opinion, but here are my thoughts.

      What I have “always said”, is that “politics will not be discussed, unless it directly affects wildland fire or firefighters”. A few examples going back to 2009 are here, here, here, and here.

      Some of the statements our President made during this week’s Cabinet meeting were:

      –A vague threat to cut funding for fighting wildland fires in California;
      –He said fires in California are costing the country “hundreds of billions of dollars”. The fact is, the average annual costs of suppressing fires in California from 2003 through 2012 was approximately $300 million.
      –Mr. Trump implied that fires could be kept to “two acres, three acres at the most”, according to what he has been told by governors in other states, he said.

      The Chief of CAL FIRE, Ken Pimlott, generously called called Mr. Trump’s comments “uninformed”.

      Molon, your comment is below an article which reported on Chief Pimlott’s remarks. What the Chief said was rather extraordinary — a high state government official, who heads the state’s wildland firefighting program, contradicting statements made by the President. Both what the President and the Chief said were newsworthy, and were reported in national media outlets. It would be a disservice to the readers of Wildfire Today to not mention these events. If its not reported on a site that is dedicated to wildland fire, where would it be reported?

      These two articles about Mr. Trump’s remarks about wildland fire reported facts. There was no editorializing or stating of opinions. Even Chief Pimlott’s description of the President’s remarks as “uninformed” is demonstrably accurate.

      It is possible that supporters of President Trump would prefer that actions or statements by him that most people knowledgeable about wildland fire disagree with, or see as detrimental to firefighters, would prefer that those statements or actions not be further publicized.

      I will continue to write about legislation and statements made by elected officials that “directly affect wildland fire or firefighters”.

      1. Thank you Bill! Keep reporting!! The ignorance of western fire issues repeatedly displayed by this administration has serious consequences and must be exposed.

      2. Bill, I agree with you on some of you’re points and well taken. On the other hand we can agree to disagree about politics and you’re posts. I personally would rather not see it because some people dont treat our President as the Commander in Chief and with the respect the position holds. They seem to troll and say disrespectful things. I will be careful what I read in the future. I do however appreciate all you have done with you’re career and Wildfire Today. Thank you

        1. I can only speak for myself when I say that it would be much easier to show the appropriate amount of respect and deference to the office and title of the President of these United States if the current resident of the Oval office did likewise.

  2. 20% of California land, 21 million acres, is US Forest Service; BLM controls 15%, 15.5 Million; the US Parks service 7% at just over 6 million acres; and Fish and Wildlife controls about 1/2 million acres. 28% is non-grazing ag land and 5% is urban.That leaves 24% of the state as California state responsible forest/range/grasslands.

    43% of the state is under Federal jurisdiction and yet over 70% (one figure said 79%) of the acres burned in 2017 was on Fed land. It’s a Fed problem.

  3. “When I meet with governors the first thing they say ” Really? With everything going on, that’s the first thing they say to him? Like they even care!

    1. I have to say that the comment about governors of other states didn’t sound very credible at all. It makes me concerned about the motives for cutting back funding.

      Keep posting about things that affect fire programs Bill. Governments are the ones that provide fire management, response, and policy and governments are run by politicians so it’s inevitable that there is going to be some relevant discussion about things like policy and funding that involves politicians.

  4. Cal Fire Chief was very reserved, polite and honest in his response. The current administration has repeatedly demonstrated a great lack of knowledge in many areas. Politics are and always will be a force in wildfire and management of this countries great natural resources. Bill Gabbert is very knowledgeable, honest and to the point about fire issues, he has the credentials to prove it. Trump has none. Honesty is better than political correctness when lives are in danger.

  5. Just a quick note to thank those who support Wildfire Today. Our mission is to provide news and commentary about wildland fire. This is stated at the top of every page in the header. For the past 45 years fire has been one of my passions, and I don’t see it diminishing in the near future. It is guaranteed that not everyone will agree with all of the opinions in the occasional commentaries, but it would be boring for all of us if they did.

    I am certainly not an infallible authority about this topic or any others, but I do my best to look at all sides and to be as accurate as possible. I am going to miss certain perspectives now and then, but we can count on our community to fill in the gaps, and give us different points of views that can enhance everyone’s understanding.

    Again to our supporters, thank you very much!

  6. Uninformed or not, is Trump right or wrong? You who are so informed please tell me, is it by chance that recreative use of marjuana & the amount of wild fires have no coencedens, of course not, right???

    1. Haha! So, climate change and drought aren’t key factors? Who’d a thought? Damn dope smokers, building all those homes and turning the heat up and the precip down.

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