The Austrian government has spoken up to correct US President Donald Trump’s claim that people in its country live in “forest cities.”
Trump recently cited Austria and other European countries as models of good forest management that US states like California, which has seen devastating wildfires lately, should learn from.
Calling in to Fox News on Tuesday, Trump said that “you look at countries, Austria, you look at so many countries. They live in the forest, they’re considered forest cities. So many of them. And they don’t have fires like this. And they have more explosive trees.”
In an article Thursday for the London-based Independent, Austria’s agriculture minister sought to set the record straight.
“There have been both serious and humorous conversations on social media about the ‘exploding trees’ (Trump) mentioned, as well as the fact that he claimed we live within ‘forest cities’ which never catch fire,” Elisabeth Koestinger wrote. “As Austrians, fortunately blessed with a healthy sense of humour, we normally take such clichés about our country in our stride.”
“However, the gravity of current events make Trump’s words much more worrying - after all, right at this moment, thousands of people are fighting horrendous wildfires in life-or-death situations,” she said.
“In reality, Austria is a country situated in the heart of Europe, where people do not live in the forest, but rather with the forest and in a close, sustainable relationship with the natural environment,” Koestinger wrote.
Sustainable management of forests, which cover almost half the nation’s territory, is important, she added, but not because they’re more combustible.
“To clarify: No, we don’t have any exploding trees in Austria,” Koestinger said, though she did confirm Trump’s assertion that “we have found a way to give our trees the space they need.”
“This does not make us ‘forest people,’ but shows how important understanding our environment and our natural resources is,” she said, adding that “taking climate change seriously and mitigating its effects is a huge part of this.”
Trump caused mirth in Finland two years ago, when he claimed the Nordic nation spends “ a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors to prevent fires.
Fire erupts in Saudi Arabia’s Taif, no injuries reportedSaudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Civil Defense said a fire broke out in the Kingdom’s Taif Governorate on Thursday, reporting no injuries.For all ... Gulf
Six young Afghan men face Greek prosecutor over Moria camp fireSix young Afghan men including two minors were to face a prosecutor on Greece’s Lesbos island Wednesday on suspicion of setting fires that destroyed ... World News
Greek police arrest five migrants over Moria camp fire: OfficialPolice on the Greek island of Lesbos have arrested five migrants suspected of setting a fire that destroyed Europe’s largest camp of Moria last week, ... World News
Fire breaks out in landmark building in central Beirut: ReportsA fire erupted in central Beirut’s commercial district in a landmark building designed by the late British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid, Al Arabiya ... Middle East