Trump dismisses climate concerns as he visits fire-ravaged West

Clay Curtis
September 15, 2020

At least 27 people in the states of California, Oregon and Washington have lost their lives as a result of the fires in the past week alone.

Brown also wants to keep Oregon's dedicated account to cover housing relief for people whose homes were damaged or destroyed by wildfires, which lawmakers voted to abolish to free up money to rebalance the budget.

Top of the list is Portland in OR with an air quality described as "hazardous" followed by Seattle in Washington with an "unhealthy" rating.

According to Deere, the meeting will take place at McClellan Park, a former Air Force Base near Sacramento. Gavin Newsom and emergency response officials for a briefing on wildfires that have torn through the state since mid-August, according to a White House official.

That striking moment came on a day of dueling campaign events, with Trump and Biden dramatically contrasting their outlooks on climate change - and the impact it has had on the record-setting fires ravaging the West Coast.

According to the National Weather Service, smoke from the West Coast wildfires drifted into northern IL on Sunday and will persist through Monday.

What role is climate change playing?

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.

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Climate scientists say rising heat and worsening droughts in California consistent with climate change have expanded what had been the state's autumn wildfire season to year-round, sparking bigger, deadlier and more frequent fires.

Appearing on CBS's Face the Nation she voiced the hope that easing weather conditions could help bring the blazes under control.

"This is a wake-up call for all of us that we've got to do everything in our power to tackle climate change", she said.

At a rally in Nevada, Trump blamed the way states have run the land, saying "it is about forest management".

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. While Newsom acknowledged forest management is an important part of reducing wildfire risk, he reminded Trump that most of California's wildfires are happening on federal land. Millions of dollars are spent on such reduction efforts every year in Western states though many argue more needs to be done. For example, pushing the USA energy sector to eliminate carbon emissions from power plants by 2035 would mean corresponding expansion in jobs in the solar energy sector.

"Talk to a firefighter, if you think that climate change isn't real", the Democratic mayor said on CNN's "State of the Union". Electrical demand from heat weaves has put vast pressure on the state's grid, and the climate crisis has accelerated dry conditions and droughts that have made areas vulnerable to fires. The flames have turned homes into rubble, forced tens of thousands to flee and shrouded the region with smoke so thick that air quality was some of the worst in the world. 10 people in the state have died in the blazes.

He said: "There are going to be a number of fatalities, folks that just couldn't get warning in time and couldn't evacuate their homes and get to safety". "The West is literally on fire, and he blames the people whose homes and communities are burning", Biden said. "You just watch", Trump said.

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