Donald Trump says all California needs to do is rake it up if it wants to prevent forest fires like Finland.
While visiting California’s fire-destroyed areas, Trump said Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto told him that his country doesn’t have the same problem with fires because it spends “a lot of time on raking and cleaning.” On Sunday, Niinisto said he actually did talk to Trump about how to avoid forest fires on Nov. 11, during the two’s trip to Paris where they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. While there he says the conversation did in fact happen, but he claims he’s not too sure where Trump got the “raking” part from.
Trump’s words sent Helsinki’s social media into a frenzy; users started a new trend of taking pictures with rakes with the hashtags #RakeAmericaGreatAgain and #RakeNews. The actual gag is that Finland does control forest fires extremely well, as Finnish Forest Association says the country’s “diversity of species and habitats suffers from too few fires.”
According to USA Today, Finland does controlled burns to get rid of underbrush. However, the Finnish Forest Association says the country’s large network of roads, lakes, rivers, and wetlands help with diverting the possibility of a fire starting.
Some users on Twitter posed with their rakes, mocking Trump’s statements. One user wrote, “1. We do have #ForestFires in #Finland 2. With #ClimateChange they have become worse 3. #California is dry, Finland is rainy 4. We have proper public funding for firefighting 5. We care about our forests#RakeNews.”