Research

Trump blames 'explosive' trees for California's record-breaking wildfires

Share
Space to play or pause M to mute left and right arrows to seek up and down arrows for

Democratic politicians on the US West Coast have accused President Donald Trump of being in denial about climate change's role in the huge wildfires there, before his visit to California.

Bushfires continue to burn ferociously across Oregon, California and Washington, destroying more than four million acres of land and thousands of homes.

Biden has included climate change in his list of major crises facing the United States, along with the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 194,000 and pushed the country into an economic recession.

Biden on Monday slammed President Trump's views on climate change, calling the Republican a "climate arsonist" and warning the wildfires raging in the West are a bigger threat to the nation's suburbs than immigration.

What's the latest on the ground?

In California, almost 17,000 firefighters are battling 29 major wildfires.

In southern OR to Northern California, warnings of low moisture and strong winds, conditions that can drive the flames, are in effect through Tuesday.

President Trump said he's in sync and closely working with the governor of California to combat the state's ongoing wildfires.

At least 10 people have been killed in the past week throughout Oregon. Seven people were still missing in the county, down from 13 reported Saturday, he said.

One of Facebook's third-party fact-checking partners, PolitiFact, wrote last Thursday on its website that dozens of posts blaming Antifa - a largely unstructured, far-left movement - for the fires had been flagged by Facebook's systems, and that collectively the posts had been shared thousands of times.

What are the politicians saying?

Drought conditions, extreme temperatures and high winds in OR created the "perfect firestorm" for the blazes to grow, Brown told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday.

"We saw incredible winds".

"I've been telling them this now for three years".

"This is truly the bellwether for climate change on the West Coast".

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

"It's maddening right now we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires", he said.

Mr Trump met California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has strongly argued that the fires are driven mostly by global warming. "They become really like a matchstick. and they just explode", Trump told reporters ahead of the roundtable discussion. "Please remember the words, very simple, forest management".

Trump's administration has encouraged looser regulation of oil, gas and coal industries, and de-emphasized efforts to harden communities, infrastructure and government sites against worsening natural disasters under climate change.

He has chose to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement, which committed the USA and 187 other countries to keep rising global temperatures below 2C (35.6F).

It isn't clear if global warming caused the dry, windy conditions that have fed the fires in the Pacific Northwest, but a warmer world can increase the likelihood of extreme events and contribute to their severity, said Greg Jones, a professor and research climatologist at Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon.

As Common Dreams reported earlier Monday, a new comprehensive study-which relied on an analysis of tens of millions of years of atmospheric records trapped in layers of the earth's subsurface-found that the world is now on track to hit a warming threshold it has not witnessed in more than 34 million years. In Oregon, the spate of fires burned nearly twice the amount of average annual losses in a week. Forestry officials have said that years of policies created to suppress as many fires as possible have allowed fuel to accumulate in forests across the West. Mountain regions that are normally cooler and wetter have dried out more rapidly in the summer, adding to the potential fuel load.

Share