Letters to the Editor: Please don’t indulge Trump’s forest raking fetish

President Trump listens as California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks Sept. 14 during a briefing at Sacramento McClellan Airport.
President Trump listens as California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks Sept. 14 during a briefing at Sacramento McClellan Airport.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: I’m really curious, if we remove all the undergrowth in the forests, how does the forest feed itself? (Climate change is affecting wildfires. But Newsom and legislators still need to do more,” Sept. 17.)

Trees that fall over in the forest become fodder for termites, and then slowly decay. Pine needles on the forest floor become nutrients for the trees and help to hold moisture in the ground, keeping the trees from drying out between rains.

We shouldn’t step in the middle of this natural process of a forest keeping itself live and regenerating itself over the centuries of its existence.

I agree that we need to find some better forms of forest management now that we are enveloped in a world of climate change. But simplistic, uninformed answers like “raking the leaves” and promoting scary scenarios like exploding trees (when fallen trees and leaves are actually a lifeblood of the forest) just seems incredibly out of touch.


It is true that stressed and diseased trees can help propagate a fire. These trees that remain standing and dried out can indeed become explosive. But you can not interrupt the ecological process of the forest without changing the health of said forest. If we rake all the leaves off the forest floor, how do we then feed the forest so it continues to exist?

Richard Kelley, West Hills


To the editor: Why don’t we all just put our heads in the sand and ignore climate change altogether?

Saying that we have to rake our forests of debris is just absurd. That statement ignores the fact that climate change produces drought, which stressed millions of trees. Because of this stress, bark beetles were able to decimate the trees and kill them. Meanwhile, high heat and low humidity produced by continued high temperatures, which have increased in severity and longevity, have produced perfect conditions for large fires to occur. Raking the forests won’t alleviate these conditions.

Oh, by the way, why isn’t the president doing anything to reduce fire danger in U.S. Forest Service areas that own the majority of the forest lands in the whole of the United States?

If we want to adjust to climate change, stop driving so much, convert to renewable energy, drive an electric car, put solar on your house. Put the blame at the doorstep of the president, not California.

Phillip Roullard, San Diego


To the editor: I had to read this article several times to attempt to understand the message.

Adjust? If Mr. Skelton or Trump believe the forest floors can be managed by removing dead wood and leaves I have to ask what we will do with the pile of debris the size of Kansas every year?

John R Keller, Santa Barbara