Finland’s president says he didn’t discuss raking leaves with Donald Trump after California wildfires comment

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US president Donald Trump says he discussed forest raking with Finnish president Sauli Niinisto (Picture: AP)
US president Donald Trump says he discussed forest raking with Finnish president Sauli Niinisto (Picture: AP)

The president of Finland has said he didn’t discuss raking leaves with Donald Trump following the US leader’s bizarre comments in the wake of the California wildfires.

During a visit on Saturday to one of the areas devastated by the blaze, Mr Trump said forest fires weren’t a problem in Finland because of raking.

He said crews “spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things” to clear forest floors.

Mr Trump visited the devastated town of Paradise in California at the weekend (Picture: Reuters)
Mr Trump visited the devastated town of Paradise in California at the weekend (Picture: Reuters)

However, Finland’s leader said on Sunday that while he can recall discussing forestry with Mr Trump, he wasn’t sure if the subject of raking came up.

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Finnish president Sauli Niinisto said in an interview published in the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper that he spoke briefly with Mr Trump about forest management on November 11, when they both were in Paris for Armistice Day events.

Mr Niinisto said their conversation focused on the California wildfires and the surveillance system Finland uses to monitor forests for fires.

He remembered telling Mr Trump “We take care of our forests”, but could not recall raking coming up.

Mr Trump claimed Finland rakes its forests regularly (Picture: Getty)
Mr Trump claimed Finland rakes its forests regularly (Picture: Getty)

More than 1,000 people are missing and at least 77 are dead after the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise, which Mr Trump visited at the weekend.

The US leader’s comment generated amusement on social media in Finland, which manages its vast forests with scientific seriousness.

Mr Trump was also mocked for referring to the town as “Pleasure”, instead of Paradise. On two occasions during his visit he called it “Pleasure”, until he was corrected by an onlooker.

Forests cover more than 70% of Finland’s 338,000 square kilometres.

The Nordic country with a population of 5.5 million is home to some of the world’s biggest paper and pulp companies.


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