It’s very easy to fall into the trap of viewing everything through the prism of partisan politics, but that does appear to be happening with the west coast wildfires at the moment.
Lindsay Whitehurst and Sara Cline have written for the Associated Press about the conflict between Donald Trump and local Democratic party politicians.
Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in the US to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas. Democratic governors say the historic wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state are a consequence of climate change, while the Trump administration has blamed poor forest management.
Trump is headed to McClellan Park today, a former air base just outside Sacramento, California, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office said he would be meeting with Trump.
The governors have been blunt: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee on Sunday called climate change “a blowtorch over our states in the West. It is maddening right now that when we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, with 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,” Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday on ABC’s This Week.
As Newsom toured a ghostlike landscape destroyed by flames Friday, he had called out the “ideological BS” of those who deny the danger. “The debate is over around climate change. Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes,” he said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has said that about 500,000 acres typically burn each year, but just in the past week, flames have swallowed over a million acres, pointing to long-term drought and recent wild weather swings in the state.
“This is truly the bellwether for climate change on the West Coast,” she said Sunday on CBS’ Face the Nation. “And this is a wake-up call for all of us that we have got to do everything in our power to tackle climate change.”
At a rally in Nevada, Trump blamed the way states have run the land, saying “it is about forest management.” White House adviser Peter Navarro echoed that Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, saying that for many years in California, “particularly because of budget cutbacks, there was no inclination to manage our forests.”
Millions of dollars are spent on forest management every year in Western states. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti accused Trump of perpetuating a lie that only forest management can curtail the massive fires seen in recent years. He pointed to drought and the need to reduce carbon emissions.
“Talk to a firefighter, if you think that climate change isn’t real,” the Democratic mayor said on CNN’s State of the Union.
Warnings of low moisture and strong winds could fan the flames in hard-hit southern Oregon to Northern California and last through Tuesday.