California governor fires away on climate change for fires

  12 September 2020    Read: 571
California governor fires away on climate change for fires

The deadly wildfires sweeping through US West Coast states show that the debate around climate change is "over", California Governor Gavin Newsom says, BBC reported.

"Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes," he told reporters from a charred mountainside.

Fires have been raging in California, Oregon and Washington for three weeks.

Fanned by winds amid record heat, the blazes have burnt millions of acres, destroyed thousands of homes, and killed at least 25 people.

On Friday Oregon Governor Kate Brown said dozens were missing in her state alone.

The fires have burnt a total 4.5m acres - an area larger than Connecticut and slightly smaller than Wales - in recent weeks, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

The governor, a Democrat, spoke on Friday as he inspected damage from the North Complex Fire, near Oroville in Northern California.

"The debate is over, around climate change," Mr Newsom told reporters. "This is a climate damn emergency. This is real and it's happening."

He acknowledged failings in forest management in recent decades, but added: "That's one point, but it's not the point."

Highlighting the states effort to combat climate change, he said the record heat waves and unprecedented fires were the sort of problems long forecast by scientists.

President Donald Trump, a climate sceptic, has stressed poor fire-control measures as the main cause of the latest blazes.

"You've got to clean your forests - there are many, many years of leaves and broken trees and they're... so flammable," he told a rally last month.

The North Complex Fire, which has been burning since 18 August, is among the deadliest in history. Ten bodies have been found so far and another 16 people are missing.

California has seen at least 20 deaths in total from fires since 15 August. Tens of thousands of people are under evacuation orders as 14,800 firefighters continue to combat 28 major fires in the state.


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