President Donald Trump argued Finland rakes its forests to prevent fires. The country's president disagrees.

California National Guard/Flickr (CC-BY)

Finland memes Trump for suggesting ‘raking’ stops wildfires

'Off to perform my civic duty!'


Ana Valens

Layer 8

Posted on Nov 19, 2018   Updated on May 21, 2021, 1:19 am CDT

There are many ways to prevent forest fires, and President Donald Trump claims the Finnish president advised him on one such solution: raking. Except there’s one problem. Apparently, President Sauli Niinistö never told him that “raking” prevents wildfires.

On Saturday, Trump visited Paradise, California, and saw the devastating impact left by the Camp Fire wildfire, now considered the most destructive forest fire in California history. While answering reporters’ questions, Trump once again argued that California’s fires were mismanaged, this time suggesting that Finland has the right idea by “raking” their forests preemptively.

“You look at other countries where they do it differently and it’s a whole different story,” Trump said, according to Earther. “I was with the president of Finland and he said, ‘We’re a forest nation.’ He called it a forest nation. And they spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things. And they don’t have any problem. And when it is, it’s a very small problem.”

Ah yes, raking leaves! If only California put its leaves away in time. Trump went on to argue that firemen were doing double duty while battling the fire because the whole state forgot it was raking season.

“I was watching the firemen the other day, and they were raking areas. They were raking areas where the fire was right over there,” Trump argued. “They’re raking trees, little trees like this that are nut trees, little bushes, that you could see are totally dry. Weeds. And they’re raking them, they’re on fire. That should have been all raked out.”

Niinistö has since stressed that he never mentioned “raking leaves” while meeting with the president, instead simply suggesting that Finland takes “care of our forests,” Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reports. Forestry Director of the Finnish Forest Association Heikki Savolainen believes Trump confused “raking” with “thinning,” a process in which forests’ trees are selectively removed to prevent wildfires from growing out of control.

Meanwhile, Finnish Twitter is having fun with the news by dunking on Trump with plenty of photos and videos raking leaves. Two hashtags have since spread across the country, #RakeNews and #haravointi, or “raking” in Finnish.

The rest of the world is joining in too, including Monty Python’s John Cleese, who says Finnish raking “helps to cool the wood down.”


In the meantime, Trump also gained the public’s wrath after mistakenly referring to Paradise, which was virtually wiped off the map by the Camp Fire, as “Pleasure.” The president also gave himself a pat on the back for a job well done over the past two years in office.

“Look I hate to do it, but I will do it, I would give myself an A-plus,” Trump replied when Chris Wallace asked him to grade his presidency, the Washington Post reports. “Is that enough? Can I go higher than that?”

H/T Gizmodo

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*First Published: Nov 19, 2018, 8:07 am CST