- Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, says he didn’t remember telling US President Donald Trump that the country rakes forest floors to prevent wildfires.
- Trump said on Saturday that Finns “spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.”
- Niinisto said he advised Trump about fire prevention earlier this month but spoke about Finland’s fire-surveillance network, not raking.
- Trump made the statement while visiting an area destroyed by the Camp Fire, which has killed more than 70 people in California.
Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, said on Sunday that he didn’t remember telling US President Donald Trump that the country rakes leaves on forest floors to prevent fires.
The day before, the US president said: “I was with the president of Finland, and he said we have a much different – we’re a forest nation. He called it a forest nation. And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don’t have any problem.”
He added: “You’ve got to take care of the floors. 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.”
Niinisto said that he spoke about forest management with Trump in Paris earlier this month but that he didn’t remember using “Trump’s English-style word,” according to the Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat.
Trump made the raking comment while visiting Paradise, California, a town destroyed by the Camp Fire, which started on November 8 and has killed more than 70 people.
“Raking is not normally included in the Finnish forest management’s tool range,” a translation of the Ilta-Sanomat article says.
On “Fox News Sunday,” Trump told the host Chris Wallace he spotted firefighters using a raking brush near the fire, claiming that if they’d done it a bit earlier it would have stopped the fire.
“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas – they were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” Trump said.
“That should have been all raked out and cleaned out,” Trump said. “You wouldn’t have the fire.”