Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke backed President Donald Trump on the years of forest mismanagement that led to the California fires as Zinke joined Breitbart News Sunday radio with host Amanda House.
He suggested that even photos of the devastation don’t do justice to what it was like to see it in person. Pointing to years of neglect and dead and dying timber, he observed, “It was like a flamethrower of embers shooting through the forests.”
Zinke said many people were unprepared for the fire. He described situations where firefighters were fighting back fire encroaching on commercial buildings with people still inside of them.
He said the area of Paradise may never return to the way it was before the inferno.
“The president is absolutely engaged,” said Zinke. He pointed also to the Sheriff and firefighters who fought the fire while their own homes were in jeopardy.
“Forests need active management,” he went on speaking of beetle kills and drought. “The amount of fuel in the forest is at historic highs.”
“The president is absolutely right. This is as much about mismanagement over time,” said Zinke who pointed to not only the previous administration but that the problem had been “going on for years.” He suggested going “back to prescribed burns late in the season,” removed dead and dying timber, and sustainable harvest. He pointed to Finland and Germany as examples.
He said “radical environmentalists” have filed lawsuits to let “nature take its course” and that these fires are the consequence of allowing nature to do so.
“I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years and, you know what, this is on them.”