Majority of the posts I have written so far had a forest theme talking about different aspects of the forest. Till Sunday (yesterday) morning, I didn’t realize I missed the most important aspect of all – “Floors of the forest”. Of course I am talking about the absurd comment Trump made about what Finns do in the forests to keep forest fires from occurring. I don’t think I will able to find many Finns who have not heard and laughed about it, but here is what Mr. Trump, President of US said while visiting California wild fires:
“You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story,” Mr. Trump said at a news conference in Paradise, Calif., on Saturday. “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.”
People say Finns are very serious and November is the darkest month of the year. We haven’t had much snow yet so it’s grey and dark and frankly a bit depressing. I appreciate Mr.Trump for bringing out the laughter in Finns in this dark grey month. Because all Sunday it has been about raking of course. My first thought was, oh shit, our family hasn’t done its quota of raking for the year.. hope we won’t lose our free medical benefits! Not!!
We have a forest right behind our home. Literally our tiny backyard ends into the forest. The forest is owned by the city but I have literally never seen a cleaning crew!! No wonder it’s filled with leaves and broken branches, biggest threat to forest fires!!. oh wait! We are not in California, not having drought, and this is the biggest stumper – forest fires can be caused for other reasons too!!!
Here’s how forests look here. This video is just from the forest behind our home…didn’t even have to walk farther to get the picture. All the forests are filled with dead leaves and small dead branches (especially now since we are in late autumn). The floor of the forests are also filled with the variety of berry bushes which we all love to go and pick free berries from. Not to mention the mushrooms and number of flora and fauna that survive on these dead leaves and branches!. Can’t imagine raking them for the life of me. Can you imagine where all the leaves and branches from a “Forest Nation” can go to?
So you can imagine Finns having lots of fun at the expense of Trump. Social media exploded with #rakenews, #rakeamericagreatagain, #MARA (Make America Rake Again), #haravointi. Finns, who are very conservative and let people be, actually taking pictures of them raking in the forest and posting them is hilarious. I am sure my fellow Californians don’t mind us laughing our hearts out at a time like this. We do feel your pain. But this just brought the best humour in Finns:) Here are a couple of my favorite jokes although it’s hard to pick from sooo many on this topic.
And the caption says – Here in Finland we rake the forests even in winter, just in case.
#Finland! Just taking a break from raking leaves and having a lunch. We have the best rakes in the world!
I come from California and I know for sure National forests like Yosemite have excellent programs on forest management, conservation and environmental studies. They have controlled fires to encourage local growth and rangers keeping track of things. We met a lot of them during our travels and learnt about what they do (our son is a junior ranger in a handful of those forests and a junior fire ranger in one). A few of those rangers are volunteers just doing it because they love the forests and want to help keep them going. Forest fires can be caused by a variety of things – somebody dropping a lit match to starting a fire when there is high risk of fire with high winds. A car breaking down and catching fire can spread if not caught early. My grandparents home caught fire and burnt down completely when I was much younger. The fire that burnt the house down didn’t even start in the village. It started a village or two away from where they lived. It was middle of summer and on a particularly windy day, someone decided to cook outside and a spark flew and caught fire. Somehow the wind carried a piece of the fire and dropped it on my grandparents home. I am pretty sure there were no leaves to be raked on the top of the house then.
And then there are individual owners of forests and usually you don’t buy a property with forest unless you are willing to take care of it and follow protocols for fire safety. I have friends who owned/owns big properties with forests and a few of them are even volunteer firefighters and get necessary training to deal with them because they know how fast they can spread especially in areas like California.
I wonder if Trump would tell California to have rains in the summer and have long winters so forests don’t burn so much because that also happens in Finland!. Oh wait, one of the reasons California is having drought and unusually high temperatures is because of Climate change but Trump doesn’t believe in that either. Maybe not the topic to start here today.
But in the recent years with forest fires a few of the major ones (at least in California) has been attributed to the negligence of local electric company PG&E but doesn’t seem like they are given enough incentive to take the maintenance serious. According to New York Times, 17 of 21 major wildfires in Northern California last Fall has been attributed to PG&E! (https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/14/business/energy-environment/california-fire-utilities.html). Maybe state and central government should focus on getting that under control instead of just telling people to rake the forests!.
Couldn’t help but write my two cents on that topic. There is another interesting topic on Finland forests I wanted to cover which also involves fires!! But that’s for next week:) . Meanwhile, here’s a bit of interesting info on Finland forests. 60% of Finland’s forests are owned by individuals and families!! There are 632,000 individual forest owners meaning 14% of the population here owns a piece of forest that more than 2 hectares (~ 5acres)!!! No, we are not one of the 14% but I think it’s pretty cool though.