President Donald Trump made a false claim that “explosive” trees helped fuel California’s record-breaking wildfires. He said that dry trees can “just explode,” as part of a longtime argument that wildfires would be eliminated if forests were cleared of dead trees and debris. He claims that “In Europe, they have forest cities … they don’t have fires like this, and they have more explosive trees. They have trees that will catch easier, but they maintain their fire … They thin the fuel. The fuel is what’s on the ground, the leaves.”
More than 85 major fires are currently burning up and down the West Coast from California to Washington. Fires have burned more than a million acres in California this year and forced thousands of people out of their homes. It’s unclear what Trump meant when he said trees “explode,” because trees don’t spontaneously combust into flames. Officials say the current fires were caused by a range of things, from lightning strikes to an explosive gender-reveal party gone wrong.