Trump dismisses climate concerns as he visits fire-ravaged West

Pablo Tucker
September 15, 2020

"It's just, you know, waking up and having climate change on our doorstep", she said.

United States President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed concerns related to climate change and insinuated that it had no link with wildfires ravaging forests across the western part of the country.

Trump, who flew into Sacramento on the third day of a re-election campaign swing, pushed back against state officials arguing that a heating climate underlies the ever-stronger blazes, which have killed at least 35 people since the start of summer.

"That's what's standing out - there just isn't a place in OR right now to find fresh air", Darling said. "You just watch", Trump, 74, told Wade Crowfoot, the California secretary for natural resources.

After arriving in California, Trump reiterated his contention that the wildfires occur due to poor maintenance of forest areas, making them more prone to fires.

There were 34 active fires burning in OR as of Sunday morning, according to the state's office of emergency management website.

"We are proud of them", he added.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will deliver remarks regarding the fires and his campaign's environmental policy from his home state of DE this afternoon.

He added: "If you give a climate denier four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised when more of America is underwater?" Biden said, savaging Trump for failing to "take responsibility" for the ongoing wildfire crisis.

"We need a president who respects science", Biden suggested.

More than 16,750 firefighters are battling 29 major wildfires across California, where 3.3 million acres have been burned in wildfires since the start of the year. Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), estimated the fires had burned through more than 1,000 square kilometers (386 square miles) in the last 24 hours alone.

Though climate change did not ignite the fires, it amplifies the risk of conditions that help fire grow and spread. It seeped into homes and businesses, sneaked into cars through air conditioning vents and caused the closure of iconic locations such as Powell's Books and the Oregon Zoo in Portland, the state's biggest city.

"Something's happened to the plumbing of the world, and we've come from a perspective, humbly, where we submit the science and observed evidence is self-evident that climate change is real and that is exacerbating this", Newsom said.

Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris is also set to tour the damage Tuesday.

Trump has made little comment about the massive blazes in recent weeks, drawing loud criticism for not acknowledging the crisis.

The president and his administration have long sought to pin the blame for large wildfires on state officials, saying fuel-choked forests and scrub need to be thinned, more firebreaks should be cut and flammable debris cleared from forest floors.

"This moment requires action, not denial", he said in a tweet.

Most of the deaths have occurred in California and OR, where the wildfires are the worst in decades and have been fueled partly by record heat.

Firefighters struggled to contain fires on Monday against high winds and low humidity.

In California, evacuations were ordered for the northern tip of the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Arcadia as the Bobcat Fire threatened communities.

Ten deaths have been confirmed during the past week in OR, the latest flashpoint in a larger summer outbreak of fires accompanied by catastrophic lightning storms, record-breaking heat waves and bouts of extreme winds.

"There are still active fires, power lines are down, trees are down, there are roads that are impassable", said Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea, warning evacuees it could take "weeks and weeks" to return to their homes.

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