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Finns bemused by Trump's praise for 'raking' forests

By Tim Smith

Finns have been left baffled by US President Donald Trump's comments praising the country for managing its vast forests by raking.

Mr Trump told reporters at the weekend, while visiting the ruins of the Northern California town where a fire killed at least 76 people, that wildfires were not a problem in Finland because crews "spend a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things" to clear forest floors.

Nearly 1,000 people remain on a list of people reported as missing, according to local authorities, the BBC reported yesterday.

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's comment generated amusement on social media in Finland, which manages its vast forests with scientific seriousness.

Finns have been posting pictures of themselves online raking local forests, joking about "raking America great again".

Forests cover over 70% of Finland's 338,000 sq km. 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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