President Joe Biden blamed climate change and Mother Nature’s “wrath” for wildfires in the past two years in an interview with The Daily Show Monday, failing to note that a historic blaze in New Mexico was started by his administration.
“Mother Nature let her wrath be seen over the last two years,” said Biden, apparently referencing the above-average number of acres burnt in the 2022 wildfire season. “For example, I have travelled on helicopter over more forest area burned to the ground than the entire state of Maryland.”
The president toured the Caldor wildfire in California by helicopter in 2021, but opted to fly by New Mexico’s Hermit’s Peak fire, the largest in the state’s history, in Air Force One, according to Reuters.
The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) issued a report in June taking responsibility for the Hermit’s Peak fire, which grew out of control from a controlled burn initiated by the USFS, according to The Washington Post.
The USFS report concluded that the team responsible for the initial controlled burn failed to “recognize and mitigate a high potential” for the fire to escape, in addition to several miscalculations about the conditions surrounding the burn, including an “underestimation of fire potential.(RELATED: US Government Starts New Mexico Wildfire, Tells Victims To Help Pay For Damages)
“The review team found that the personnel assigned to the Las Dispensas Prescribed Fire followed their approved prescribed fire plan. There was confidence they were within the approved prescription limits, and they had a plan to suppress the fire and cease ignitions if the prescription parameters were exceeded,” the USFS report reads. “However, a post-prescribed fire analysis of fuel and weather revealed that the implementation was occurring under much drier conditions than were recognized.”
Biden: “Mother Nature let her wrath be seen over the last 2 years. For example, I’ve traveled on helicopter over more forest area burned to the ground than the entire state of Md. … If we don’t keep the temperature from going above 1.5C, then … [a] whole generation is damned” pic.twitter.com/hUJ9QTKQ83
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) March 14, 2023
It took more than four months and $300 million dollars to contain the blaze, which spanned over 530 square miles in the Rocky Mountain foothills, the Associated Press reported. Although the president had previously said the government would cover “100% of the cost” to victims, federal disaster relief failed to compensate victims for damage to their houses and other critical infrastructure.
“This is not a natural disaster, this was man-made by a government entity,” Ella Arellano, whose family lost hundreds of acres of forest to the New Mexico blaze, told Reuters last June. “It’s a mess, just a big mess that will take generations to recover from.”
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