Published: Tue, September 15, 2020

Gavin Newsom tells Trump climate change making wildfires worse

Gavin Newsom tells Trump climate change making wildfires worse

The alerts stretch from hard-hit southern OR to Northern California and last through Monday evening. "But then you pull up, and the devastation of just every home, you think of every family and every situation and every burnt-down auto, and there are just no words for it".

"And undeniable acceleration of the punishing reality of climate change on our planet, on our people, on the lives and livelihoods", Biden said in Wilmington, Delaware.

Wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state have burned more than 4.6 million acres and killed at least 35 people. He said that if voters give "a climate denier" and "climate arsonist" another four years in the White House, "why would we be surprised that we have more of America ablaze?"

Mr. Biden said the threat of climate change "requires action, not scapegoating".

"Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating and more deadly", Biden said. Their mission on September 5 lasted 10 hours.

During the discussion, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom shot back at the president after acknowledging poor forest management is a part of the problem, noting that 57% of California forests are on land controlled by the federal government.

"We thought we'd get out of this summer with no fires", he said. "Something has happened to the plumbing of the world. and we submit the science is self evident that climate change is real".

Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris is set to tour the damage Tuesday. She has tweeted that Trump has "denied evidence" the fires were "intensified by the climate crisis".

The smoke is high in the atmosphere, so it will have little effect on air quality in Upstate New York, said Ben Lott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Binghamton.

"If we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting Californians", Crowfoot added.

Most of the fatalities have occurred in California and OR, with emergency services in the two states recording 26 deaths.

More than 30,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, with wind gusts and drier weather on Monday threatening more destructions.

The region generally experienced a relatively dry winter, leaving forests particularly dessicated and vulnerable to extreme heat that materialised in August.

"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.

"He's already said he wanted to withhold aid to California, to punish the people of California, because they didn't vote for him", Biden said, referring to allegations leveled last month by a former high-ranking official at the Department of Homeland Security.

Paul Clement described to AFP how he fled his home in Berry Creek. "So I ended up driving through and you couldn't see 50 feet (15 meters)".

As of September 14, the wildfires have already burned over 2.2 million acres of land in California with almost 14,000 firefighters battling 25 major wildfires that have collectively destroyed 3,300 structures, eight people and untold numbers of wildlife, livestock and housepets.

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