SACRAMENTO—California Governor Gavin Newsom and President Donald Trump held a meeting to discuss the wildfires that have burned 3.2 million acres in the state of California near Sacramento at the McClellan Park on Monday, September 14.
According to Cal Fire’s California Daily Wildfire Update for Tuesday, September 15, 16,000 firefighters continued to battle blazes that have killed 25 people and destroyed 4,200 structures since August 25.
President Trump reviewed wildfire damage with the team of officials and Governor Newsom, and said that the wildfire was due to poor forest management. Officials indicated climate change as the major cause of the fires.
“When trees fall down after a short period of time, they become very dry – really like a matchstick…and they can explode,” said President Trump in response to Newsom’s suggestion that the wildfires were being exacerbated by climate change.
Forest management, Trump’s preferred solution to warming temperature trends and wildfires, includes reducing forest vegetation to give firefighters easier access and preventing overgrown vegetation.
Governor Newsom mentioned characteristics of the “hottest August ever” and stated his opinion on the seriousness of climate change.
“The ferocity of these fires. The drought [for] five plus years. Something has happened to the plumbing of the world, and we come from a perspective, humbly where we submit the sciences and observe evidence…climate change is real,” said Newsom.
He acknowledged that forest mismanagement played a role in the wildfires, but said climate change was a much bigger factor. “I think there’s an area of at least commonality on vegetation, forest management,” Governor Newsom told President Trump. “But please respect, and I know you do, the difference of opinion out here as it relates to this fundamental issue on the issue of climate change.”
In a video of the briefing posted on Twitter by Washington Post editor J.M. Rieger, Trump was told by California Secretary for Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot that climate change in addition to vegetation management needed to be considered when addressing the historically high temperatures in California. “As the governor said, we have had temperatures explode.”
“You may have known we broke a world record in the Death Valley—130 degrees. Even in greater LA—120 degrees. We are seeing this warming trend; our summers warmer but our winters warmer as well. One area of agreement and priority is vegetation management, but I think we really want to work with you to really recognize the changing climate and what it means to our forests and actually work together with that science.”
Pointing out Trump’s assertion that forest mismanagement was the cause, Crowfoot said, “If we ignore that science and put our heads in the sand, and think it’s all about vegetation management, we’re not going to succeed in protecting Californians.”
Trump responded, “It’ll start getting cooler – you just watch.”
“I wish science agreed with you,” Crowfoot told the President.
Trump laughed and said, “I don’t think science knows, actually.”
At the Delaware Museum of Natural History, presidential Democratic candidate Joe Biden, stressed climate change and called Trump a “climate arsonist” who would set the country “ablaze” if re-elected. “We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here and unless we take urgent action, it’ll soon be more catastrophic.”
According to Joe Biden’s website, he had a plan for a “clean energy revolution” aimed at reducing emissions and protecting state wildlife lands. His “9 KEY ELEMENT” plan can be accessed here: https://joebiden.com/9-key-elements-of-joe-bidens-plan-for-a-clean-energy-revolution/#.
In January 2019, President Trump threatened to cut federal aid to California, saying that California officials are to blame for the wildfires.