(NBC News) Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s claim that “environmental terrorist groups” created the conditions that enabled California’s wildfires triggered substantial blowback from environmental groups, who chastised the Trump administration official for downplaying the role of climate change in the blazes.

Zinke said in a radio interview with Breitbart News that environmental extremists were preventing the government from properly managing forests ? leaving excessive fuel on the ground for the deadly blazes.

The statement is just the latest as the Trump administration moves aggressively to open more public land to natural resource extraction, including logging.