Is Trump right about the cause of the California Wildfires?


Moriel Weitzner ’24

With the California wildfires becoming progressively worse and the air quality following suit, a question lingers amidst the chaos: What is causing these wildfires? President Donald Trump visited California on September 14, to meet with California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, as well as first-responders and scientific advisers. During his trip, President Trump claimed, contrary to common belief, that the wildfires were caused by subpar forest management, not climate change. The president turned out to be correct. 

Scientifically speaking, one can argue the reason for California’s wildfires is climate change, poor forest management, or both. Perhaps the most logical position would be to declare that climate change and poor forest management are both to blame. However, the argument that climate change is the sole cause of these wildfires is absurd as it neglects the role that the state policy has played in the situation. Despite common belief, the average temperature in the state of California over the past century has risen 3 degrees Fahrenheit according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The idea that a 3 degree uptick over the course of 100 years is to blame for the violent wildfires in California seems extremely exaggerated. It is much more reasonable to argue that these wildfires occurred as the result of state policy that forbids any sort of controlled burning. Controlled burning would have prevented these tindered areas from becoming consumed by flames.

Not only does the climate change argument lack scientific founding, but Governor Gavin Newsom freely admits that he has done California forest management a great disservice. The governor told President Trump at the briefing on September 14, “We have not done justice on our forest management… We acknowledge our role and responsibility to do more in that space.” Governor Newsom’s acknowledgement of his state’s incompetence really ends the debate. This whole ordeal should serve as a reminder to people of the importance of fact-checking, something Ramaz students are taught as early as 9th grade. If Gavin Newsom were to only do more conducive research, California could solve their wildfire problem in a more logical, beneficial way. Contrary to the end-of-the-world hysteria emerging from climate change alarmists, the California wildfires are mainly an unfortunate example of government inefficiency.