Europe

California wildfires: Finland bemused by Trump raking comment

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Media captionDonald Trump tells reporters Finland rakes its forests

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

Citing a conversation with his Finnish counterpart, Mr Trump said they spend "a lot of time on raking and cleaning".

But President Sauli Niinisto told a Finnish daily he could not remember talking about raking when the two met.

Firefighters in California are currently battling the deadliest blaze in the state's history.

Nearly 1,000 people remain on a list of people reported as missing, authorities say.

The number of believed missing fell 283 late on Sunday, down from 1,276 people, they say, but gave no other details.

Heavy rain is forecast in the coming days and could complicate efforts to find victims' remains, but will bring relief to firefighters on the front lines.

Forest nation

Surveying the damage on Saturday, Mr Trump revisited his claim that poor forest management was to blame.

"You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it's a whole different story," he said.

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Media captionDrone footage shows complete devastation in the Californian town of Paradise

"I was with the president of Finland, and he said: 'We have a much different [sic]..., we're a forest nation.' And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem," he added.

But Sauli Niinisto told the Ilta-Sanomat newspaper raking had not come up when they talked.

"I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network," he said.

The forestry director of the Finnish Forest Association, Heikki Savolainen, told the newspaper that raking was not usually a forest-management measure.

"Those statements were very interesting. I see raking only in my own yard. It belongs to yards and parks," he said.

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

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