President Donald Trump, concerned about wildfires in the Siberia region of Russia, reached out to President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday, offering aid and assistance from the U.S. to the Kremlin if it needed help.
The conversation occurred “at the initiative of the American side,” meaning Trump was the one who called Putin first, The Daily Beast reported. The wildfires in that region of Russia currently span more than 7.4 million acres of land.
Putin expressed thanks to Trump, and said he may take him up on the offer for aid, should it become necessary. He also said he viewed the call as a means to open further dialogue up on other issues, including trade.
The White House confirmed that the conversation between the two leaders did indeed occur, at the behest of Trump.
Trump was once highly critical of the state of California for what he called the “mismanagement” of federal funds in order to deal with widespread fires in the state.
“Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!” Trump threatened in November last year.
There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor. Billions of dollars are given each year, with so many lives lost, all because of gross mismanagement of the forests. Remedy now, or no more Fed payments!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 10, 2018
Management of fire prevention and response is indeed an important element that states and nations must take into account. Yet according to FactCheck.org, California had not done anything improper with how it allocated federal funds to respond to wildfires.
Experts told the fact-checking website that the fires were not widespread in 2018 due to poor management, but rather a combination of conditions, including wind patterns that spread the disaster further than usual, were to blame.
Trump also claimed that better raking practices would have prevented the forest fires, but there was no evidence to prove his claim has any scientific backing.