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Trump signs executive order to create federal wildfire strategy

December 21, 2018

President Trump signed an executive order Friday aimed at preventing catastrophic wildfires by directing the Interior and Agriculture departments to develop plans to remove brush and dead trees on millions of acres of federally owned land.

In the wake of California’s deadly Camp fire last month, the president also ordered the agencies to develop a wildfire strategy by the end of 2020 with state and local partners to minimize the risk of property loss and injuries.

“For decades, dense trees and undergrowth have amassed in these lands, fueling catastrophic wildfires,” Mr. Trump said in the order. “These conditions, along with insect infestation, invasive species, disease, and drought, have weakened our forests, rangelands, and other Federal lands, and have placed communities and homes at risk of damage from catastrophic wildfires.”

He said “active management of vegetation is needed to treat these dangerous conditions on Federal lands but is often delayed due to challenges associated with regulatory analysis and current consultation requirements.”

After the Camp fire, in which more than 80 people were killed in northern California, the president blamed environmentalists and others who block the removal of dead trees and other combustible vegetation from forests. Many on the left have pointed the finger at global warming.

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