Published: Tue, September 15, 2020

Trump dismisses climate concerns as he visits fire-ravaged West

Trump dismisses climate concerns as he visits fire-ravaged West

Smoke from severe wildfires raging on the West Coast has blown thousands of miles east, reaching parts of the Midwest, Canada and upstate NY.

Dozens of conflagrations have raged more than 1.6 million hectares in Oregon, California and Washington state since August, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and killing at least 35 people.

The blazes have burned almost five million acres (two million hectares) across the US West, torching an area roughly the size of the state of New Jersey, with fears the death toll may rise.

Light to medium smoke cover also blew east into Toronto and Ottawa in Canada, as well as north to Vancouver and northeast to Calgary in Western Canada. Trump responded, "Okay. It'll start getting cooler". Firefighters in the state have not seen anything like this season in more than a century, when the Great Fire of 1910 blazed through more than 3 million acres.

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

Two Battalion Chiefs were also sent to Washington for military training for wildfire support. But during a visit Monday to California, Trump pointed to how states manage forests and said, "It will start getting cooler, just you watch".

President Donald Trump on Monday suggested global warming will reverse itself and dismissed climate change as a cause of ferocious fires engulfing swaths of the US West, during a briefing in California on the deadly blazes.

"There has to be strong forest management", he said. "The drys are getting drier", Newsom asserted.

In California, 24 people have died, and one person was killed in Washington state.

Trump is set to arrive late morning in McClellan Park, where heads of California's emergency services will brief him on the fires. "And now we have a blow torch over our states in the West, which is climate change", Inslee said on ABC's This Week With George Stephanopoulos.

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

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

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

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

Many places don't have the capacity or the money to do the work, said John Bailey, an Oregon State University professor of tree growth and fire management.

"When I came around the bend, everything was on fire - an entire hillside".

Crews in Jackson County, Oregon, where Talent is located, were hoping to venture into rural areas where the Almeda Fire has abated slightly with slowing winds, sending up thick plumes of smoke as the embers burned.

"It was worse than the Camp Fire, which I didn't think was possible".

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