‘Raking’ Leaves in Forests Invites Trump Ridicule in Finland
Finland’s President has denied telling Trump his country “rakes” forests to prevent wildfires.
A comment by Donald Trump on the raging California wildfires, namely, that people in Finland “spend a lot of time raking” leaves in the forests, has caused bewilderment in the Nordic state and mocking of the US President on social media.
Trump flew to Northern California on Saturday, and spoke alongside California governor Jerry Brown and lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom about the Camp Fire calamity that has destroyed nearly 150,000 acres of forest and thousands of homes, and has killed dozens of people.
He suggested that “raking” forest leaves, as they supposedly do in Finland, would have helped prevent the wildfires in California.
“You gotta take care of the floors. You know the floors of the forest, very important,” Trump said, as cited by Quarz.
“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 called it a forest nation, and they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things and they don’t have any problem. And when they do, it’s a very small problem,” he added.
Finland’s President, Sauli Niinistö, however, was quick to disprove Trump’s comments declaring that he never never discussed “raking leaves” with his US counterpart.
“I mentioned him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network,” Niinistö told Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.
He added he did not recall using the phrase “we take care of our forests” during his conversation with the US President.
Heikki Savolainen, the forestry director of the Finnish Forest Association, said raking was not usually a forest-management measure.
“Those statements were very interesting. I see raking only in my own yard. It belongs to yards and parks,” he said.
“[Trump] may have confused raking with thinning, in which one third or even half of the trees are cut. It reduces the fire load and increases the vitality of the forest,” a Finnish horticulturist told the newspaper.
Trump’s comment about the supposed “raking” of leaves in Finland’s forests offered as advice to the people of California has been mocked by Finns as well as Californians and environmentalists.
A large number of Finns in particular have taken to social media posting photos of themselves in the woods with rakes, with the hashtag “haravointi,” which means “raking” in Finnish.
(Banner image: TV grab from CNN)