The president made the comments during a campaign rally in Nevada before a visit to California Monday, where 22 people have died since the fires broke out in mid-August.
Speaking to supporters in Minden – many of whom did not wear face masks or practice social distancing – he said, “Tonight our hearts are with all communities in the West struggling with devastating forest fires.
“I’m going to go to California. I spoke to people in Oregon, Washington. They never had anything like it.
“But you know, it’s about forest management.
“Remember the words,” he told an enthusiastic crowd, adding, “Very simple. Forest management. ”
In November 2019, Mr. Trump made similar comments when he threatened to cut federal aid to California to fight wildfires, saying his governor had made a “Terrible work of forest management” and should “collect his act”.
Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, and the governors of California, Oregon and Washington state – all Democrats – said the fires were a consequence of global warming.
Mr Biden said: “We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an endless barrage of tragedies like the one American families are facing today in the West.”
In Oregon, approximately 500,000 residents have been warned to evacuate due to historically high levels of air pollution.
In San Francisco, the fires covered the emblematic of the city the golden gate bridge in the dark and an orange glow.
About 16,000 California firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires in the state, although most were started on Thursday and quickly contained.
Oregon’s director of emergency management said officials were preparing for a possible “mass death event.”
The deadly fires have also destroyed some towns and displaced tens of thousands of people.
In Washington state, the scorched lands in the past five days represented its second worst fire season – after 2015 – according to Gov. Jay Inslee.
“It is not an act of God,” he said.
“It happened because we changed the climate. ”
The air quality index reading Saturday morning in Oregon’s capital Salem was 512 – the scale normally goes from 0 to 500.
“Above 500 is literally out of this world,” said Laura Gleim, spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.
Ms Gleim also said that because air quality in the past was rarely that bad, the government’s criterion for measuring it was capped at 500.
The weather conditions that led to the fires and fueled the flames were probably a once-only event in a generation, according to Greg Jones, professor and research climatologist at Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon.
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He suggested that a large area of high pressure, stretching from the desert southwest to Alaska, caused strong winds from the east to the west coast, reducing the relative humidity to as low as 8 % and bringing desert conditions even along the Pacific Ocean. .
Instead of the off-shore flows normally enjoyed by the Pacific Northwest, strong easterly winds pushed the fires to the western slopes of the Cascade Range.
It is not clear whether global warming caused the conditions, Mr Jones said, but added that a warmer world may increase the likelihood of extreme events and contribute to their severity.