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- Warm, dry week increases wildfire threat for Hill Country
California, Oregon and Washington state have seen historic wildfires that have burned faster and farther than ever before. Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in the U.S. to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas.
The Democratic governors of those states say the fires are a consequence of climate change, while the Trump administration has blamed poor forest management for the flames that have raced through the region and made the air in places like Portland, Oregon, Seattle and San Francisco some of the worst in the world.
Scientists say the wildfires are all but inevitable, but that the main drivers are plants and trees drying out due to climate change and more people living closer to areas that burn. Forest thinning and controlled burns have proven challenging to implement on the scale needed to combat those threats.
Biden released a $2 trillion plan in July to boost investment in clean energy and stop all climate-damaging emissions from U.S. power plants by 2035. But as the wildfires rage, some climate activists have expressed frustration that Biden has not been more forceful on the issue. He has not embraced, for instance, some of the most progressive elements of the Green New Deal.
Amid that disapproval from the left, Biden over the weekend offered his most pointed criticism connecting Trump’s climate change denialism to the fires.
“The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable – climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life,” Biden said in a statement. “President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable. We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today.”
Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, will return to her home state on Tuesday to meet with emergency service personnel to be briefed on the state’s wildfires.
President Donald Trump is set to visit California Monday. He’s headed to McClellan Park, a former air base just outside Sacramento, White House spokesman Judd Deere said. California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said he would be meeting with Trump.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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