People in Finland mock Donald Trump for claiming they prevent forest fires by 'raking and cleaning'
For 11 days, catastrophic, fast-moving wildfires have rampaged across California. Fueled by strong winds and arid conditions, the blazing infernos have destroyed thousands of structures, and forced hundreds of thousands of residents to flee their homes. According to the latest statistics, 77 people were killed and nearly 1,000 are reported missing. Later this week, rainfall is expected the stifle the flames, but it could also complicate the situation for firefighters.
On Saturday, President Trump made a rare visit to Northern California to survey the devastation. When asked if the historically deadly wildfires altered his opinion on climate change, he said, "No, no, I have a strong opinion. I want a great climate." (97% of climate scientists agree climate change is real and humans are causing it. Trump stubbornly disagrees with the majority of scientists, and once tweeted this false claim: "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.")
The president went on to say "there are a lot of factors" to blame for the wildfires, like not raking leaves enough. Seriously. "We’ve got to take care of the floors," Trump said in a press conference. "You know, the floors of the forest, very important. You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it's a whole different story. I was with the president of Finland, and he said, 'We have a much different... we're a forest nation.' And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem."
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told the lta-Sanomat newspaper that he did not recall discussing raking with Trump. "I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network," stated Niinisto. The director of the Finnish Forest Association, Heikki Savolainen, told the media outlet that Trump's comments were "very interesting," but raking leaves is not a typical part of forest management. "I see raking only in my own yard," he said. "It belongs to yards and parks."
Many people found Trump's baffling comment hilarious, especially people from Finland. Typically Finns spend their free time eating mämmi in the sauna, yelling 'perkele!' at soccer games and listening to heavy metal in complete darkness. But last weekend they took a break from the busy schedules to mock the US president. On Twitter, Finns shared sarcastic photos of themsevles raking leaves to keep the the calamitous wildfires at bay. And of course, they were captioned "#RakeNews #RakeAmericaGreatAgain."
If you'd like to help the victims of the California wildfires, donate to relief efforts on the American Red Cross and GoFundMe. Do not fly to California and try to rake and clean the remaining forests. That will not be helpful. But go ahead, laugh it up, Finland.