West Coast fires: Newsom government stresses wildfires show the reality of climate change

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Average temperatures in the Golden State have risen three degrees since 1980, most recently illustrated by the hottest August in state history, according to Newsom.

“The basic facts cannot be denied,” Newsom said. “The trend lines are not going in the right direction. ”

Newsom said on Wednesday he “confronted the president directly” on climate change – though a video from the press briefing earlier this week shows a milder exchange between the leaders.

“I think there is a way to approach people and the right people may not agree,” Newsom said. “And I maintain that we are making progress and as far as we are getting along, I think we are. “However, he said he did not expect Trump to “dramatically change course.”

“I will continue to be stubborn as I imagine it will be too, this is not a belief system, this is data,” he said. “Science. You have to recognize the facts. ”

Just a month ago, lightning in an extreme heat wave triggered an eruption of fires across the state.

Forest fires have particularly hit areas that have been affected by the recent drought, leaving 136 million dead and dry trees “which act like kindling,” Newsom said.

Already, multiple fires have destroyed over 4.7 million acres on the west coast as dry grass and high winds have created powder magazine conditions.

The fires have killed at least 34 people and reduced thousands of homes to embers.

American Farm Bureau Federation requests additional resources

The American Farm Bureau Federation, which describes itself as “An independent, non-governmental, voluntary organization led by and representing farm and ranch families,” and 13 state farm offices sent a letter to Congress asking for additional resources to prevent and recover from catastrophic wildfires on the West Coast.

“Delays in proper management, coupled with drier and warmer conditions, have resulted in unsanitary and overly dense forests,” the letter says. “When fires inevitably occur, these conditions translate into larger and more catastrophic fires that are difficult to control, destructive to urban and rural communities, and pose great threats to both private property and human life.

The letter, addressed to Senate leaders, also argues for the Forest Fires and Emergency Public Safety Act, which is currently under consideration in the Senate.

The law would speed up forest management and reforestation after fires, and remove dangerous timber from forests.

“Farm Bureau members hold grazing permits on public lands, own properties adjacent to federally managed lands, and participate in forestry on public and private lands,” they wrote in the letter. “In addition to the direct losses of crops and livestock, agricultural products are also affected by smoke and ash. “

School begins for Oregon kids after wildfire

In Oregon’s capital, Salem, school began Wednesday after a few days of delays due to the fires, according to CNN affiliate KPTV.

Students will go to online classes because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our educators have done an amazing job amid some really tough changes in the system, new technology and really showing up for our kids,” said Salem-Keizer Public Schools Superintendent Christy Perry. “And what we keep reminding them of, what our kids need most, is just seeing them, so this is our week.” ”

She added: “The forest fires made everything a little more difficult for us too. ”

The school district has approximately 41,000 students. Perry told KPTV that the lives of the students are mostly affected by the smoke. Some staff were forced to evacuate, she said.

“I’ve said this to my student counselors several times today, like everything is going to be fine,” said teacher Macy Bowser. ” Everything will be alright. “

California wildfires kill 25 people

More than 17,000 firefighters are on the front lines in California to fight more than two dozen large fires. At least 25 people have died and 3.3 million acres have burned since the start of the year.

The deadliest blaze this year was the North Complex, with at least 15 dead, burning over 273,000 acres and being 36% contained on Wednesday. It is the fifth deadliest fire in the history of the state.

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has identified 10 of the 15 victims, aged 16 to 79.

Smoke from Western wildfires blew thousands of miles into New York City

The August complex fire, the largest in state history, continues to burn in northern California. It consumed 817,952 acres and is 30% contained.

“With no significant precipitation in sight, California remains dry and ripe for wildfires,” Cal Fire said. A warming trend that returns over the weekend will increase the risk of fire.

But smoky conditions and visibility are improving in northern California, according to the Bay Area office of the National Weather Service.

“There is still smoke in parts of northern and interior #California, but parts of the #SanFrancisco area FINALLY see blue skies – and that is not taken for granted,” he said. tweeted the office.

Drifting smoke from the fires in California has prompted the Reno, Nevada, Meteorological Service office to issue a dense smoke advisory until Thursday morning. Affected areas include Lake Tahoe, the agency said.

Establishment of a mobile mortuary in Oregon

At least eight people have died and 12 more are missing among the 26 fires in Oregon, officials said.

Red fire retardant blanketed the destroyed streets and homes of Talent, Oregon, after wildfires swept through the city.

The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release that investigators have identified two victims of the Beachie fire: Justin Cook, 41, and Cathy Cook, 71, both from the city of Lyon. The cooks were located near their property, the sheriff’s office said in the statement.

A mobile facility for the medical examiner has been set up in Linn County as authorities brace for the possibility of more deaths.

Despite deadly conditions, some residents chose to stay to protect their homes from the flames.

Darren Richardson ignored evacuation orders as the Beachie Creek fire moved closer to his neighborhood, CNN affiliate KATU reported.

These are the Hotshots, the firefighters on the front lines of deadly California fires

“My house is still there, my whole neighborhood is there, because we went up there and we fought it,” Richardson told KATU. “I went there, I watched the city burn, I stayed there for 14 hours trying to put it out with other people. ”

Richardson was able to save his home, but most of the city was burnt down, the branch said.

Federal declaration of disaster approved for state to help fund state recovery, and Oregon congressional delegation urges Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar to declare fires in Oregon a public health emergency.

“This decision will make more federal aid available to the state and provide the resources needed to rebuild our communities,” Representative Peter DeFazio (R) said in a tweet on Tuesday. DeFazio wrote that he had been briefed on the decision by White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

“Oregon is resilient, but to fight fires of this magnitude we need all the help we can get,” Governor Kate Brown tweeted. “We are grateful to have received a presidential disaster statement promptly, helping to provide support such as damage assessment, search and rescue, debris management, shelter and medical assistance teams. “

CNN’s Vanessa Yurkevich, Maeve Reston, Ray Sanchez, Dave Hennen, Joe Sutton, Andy Rose, Stella Chan and Gisela Crespo contributed to this report.

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