President Donald Trump says “gross mismanagement of forests” is to blame for two unchecked wildfires burning in California, where nine people have been killed and hundreds of thousands forced to evacuate.
“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor,” he wrote in a Twitter post early on Saturday.
“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!,” he added.
Mr Trump has claimed environmental management is behind forest fires before, in August when a different fire killed seven and caused thousands to flee.
At the time he claimed the water that could fight the fire was “foolishly being diverted into the Pacific Ocean,” the New York Times reports.
The state fire department was quick to fight back.
“We have plenty of water to fight these wildfires, but let’s be clear: It’s our changing climate that is leading to more severe and destructive fires,” Daniel Berlant, assistant deputy director of the California state fire agency wrote on Twitter.