Death toll in West Coast wildfires reaches 35, officials anxious about winds

A sign in front of a tent along the highway near Salem Oregon

"But then you pull up, and the devastation of just every home, you think of every family and every situation and every burnt-down auto, and there are just no words for it".

President Donald Trump landed in Sacramento, California for a briefing about the wildfires that have killed at least 33 people and forced thousands from their homes.

Wade Crowfoot, the head of the California Natural Resources Agency, urged Trump to recognize climate change and not just forest management as the cause for the wildfires and stressed the need to "work together with that science".

California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has argued that the fires are driven mostly by global warming, acknowledged as he met with Trump that better forest management was needed.

Wildfires are still raging across OR, and two separate fires in Portland might merge, although firefighters have said that they would cause less damage than last week's wildfires. They become really like a match stick. "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?" he said. Biden said, savaging Trump for failing to "take responsibility" for the ongoing wildfire crisis.

Climate change amplifies droughts, which dry out regions, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread out-of-control and inflict unprecedented damage.

People in Oregon, Washington and parts of California were struggling under acrid yellowish-green smog - the worst, most unhealthy air on the planet according to some measurements.

The president's visit to California was to last only a few hours, before he returns to the campaign trail in Arizona.

Trump has a history of disputing the scientific consensus on climate change (as well as attacking windmills, complaining about water flow in showerheads and knocking energy-efficient light bulbs, among other statements).

"We need the winds to get the smoke out of here", Kranz said.

"We come from a perspective humbly where we submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident: that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating this", the Democratic governor said during a meeting with the president.

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Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris is set to tour the damage Tuesday.

The president and his administration have sought to pin the blame for the large wildfires on state officials, saying fuel-choked forests and scrub need to be thinned, firebreaks must be cut and flammable dead leaves cleared from forest floors.

"This moment requires action, not denial", he said in a tweet.

Most of the fatalities have occurred in California and OR, with emergency services in the two states recording 26 deaths.

More than 30,000 firefighters are battling the blazes, with wind gusts and drier weather on Monday threatening more destructions.

In California, evacuations were ordered for the northern tip of the San Gabriel Valley suburb of Arcadia as the Bobcat Fire threatened communities.

Last week, Chief Warrant Officers Joseph Rosamond, Kipp Goding, Irvin Hernandez, Brady Hlebain, Ge Xiong, and Sergeants George Esquivel and Cameron Powell of the Guard flew a CH-47 Chinook helicopter and a UH-60 Black Hawk into the Mammoth Lake Reservoir in the Sierra National Forest to rescue campers surrounded by one of California's raging wildfires.

Joe Smith, advocacy director for Sacramento Loaves & Fishes, which helps homeless people, said California's capital city hasn't seen consistent blue skies in weeks.

Paul Clement described to AFP how he fled his home in Berry Creek. "I thought the Camp Fire was enough, but I guess not". "So I ended up driving through and you couldn't see 50 feet (15 meters)".

The fires are threatening to become another front in Trump's reelection bid, which is already facing hurdles because of the coronavirus pandemic, joblessness and social unrest.

More than 4,000 homes and other structures have been incinerated in California alone over the past three weeks.

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