Trump predicts climate to cool down in wildfires briefing

Pablo Tucker
September 15, 2020

President Trump on Monday again pushed the claim that fires, like the dozens now burning across the American West, are down to bad forest management while ignoring the climate crisis.

The quick stop during a three-day reelection campaign swing was the first time Mr Trump has visited California since the devastating blazes began.

"I wish science agreed with you", Crowfoot said.

On arrival in McClellan Park, near Sacramento, Mr Trump repeated his argument that the wildfires are due instead to insufficient maintenance of forest areas to make them less combustible. He said forest management changes were something that could be tackled quickly.

Experts have said that climate change is causing the state's fires to spread more rapidly because of hotter temperatures and more extreme dry and wet spells.

Minutes earlier, Democratic challenger Joe Biden branded Mr Trump a "climate arsonist" whose policies are contributing to natural disasters. Biden said. "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if more of America is ablaze?" Mr Biden said, savaging Mr Trump for failing to "take responsibility" for the ongoing wildfire crisis in western USA states.

The wildfires sweeping the West Coast of the United States took centre stage in the USA election campaign on Monday, with President Donald Trump visiting California and blaming the blazes on poor forest management while his Democratic challenger Joe Biden stressed the role of climate change. He pointed not just to wildfires in the West and hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, but also to droughts affecting farmers in the Midwest and even climate-related threats to USA military installations around the world.

A blitz of wildfires across Oregon, California and Washington state has destroyed thousands of homes and a half dozen small towns since August, scorching more than 4 million acres and killing more than two dozen people.

The President confirmed the state of California and the federal government have entered in a 20-year commitment to double forest management efforts and increase vegetation.

Efforts to combat the 87 large fires across the West was expected to be hampered Monday by strong, gusty winds in northern California and southeast OR, while dense smoke was expected to continue to impact much of the western United States, forecasters said.

"Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and hurricanes", Biden said.

"The hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier", he said.

"Talk to a firefighter if you think that climate change isn't real".

Biden, the Democratic nominee to face Trump in November's election, also criticized the president's focus on forest management over climate change. She has tweeted that Trump has "denied evidence" the fires were "intensified by the climate crisis".

Of at least 35 people killed by the blazes since the beginning of summer, 27 died last week alone.

Much of the West Coast remained coated in dense smog through Sunday, with Portland by a distance the world's most air-polluted city according to IQAir.

CalFire said Monday that almost 16,500 firefighters have been battling 28 major wildfires in the state, which have left 24 people dead and over 4,200 structures destroyed.

Biden lashed at Trump, saying the moment requires "leadership, not scapegoating" and that "it's clear we are not safe in Donald Trump's America". "We must come together around science to build a better future for all Americans".

It had 14,000 dry lightning strikes that set off hundreds of fires, some that combined into creating five of the 10 largest fires in the state's recorded history.

But numerous blazes have roared through coastal scrub and grasslands, not forest.

"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.

Facebook said on Saturday it was now removing false claims that the wildfires in OR were started by certain groups.

Paul Clement described to AFP how he fled his home in Berry Creek.

Brown/AFP/Getty Images The Bobcat Fire burns on hillsides behind homes in Arcadia, California.

Bafflingly, Trump then told reporters outside the meeting, "I think we're totally in sync".

"A lot of good work has been completed in the last few days, and we're going to continue to strive to connect all the dots and get this mopped up as soon as possible", said Cal Fire Night Operation Chief Monty Smith.

Other reports by iNewsToday