Easing fires not as simple as climate change vs. forest work

Oregon wildfires: Apocalyptic cloud of smoke covers US west coast – 40,000 people evacuate

Firefighters in the state have not seen anything like this season in more than a century, when the Great Fire of 1910 blazed through more than 3 million acres. All of the state's forests are classified as being in "extreme fire danger".

During the discussion, California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom shot back at the president after acknowledging poor forest management is a part of the problem, noting that 57% of California forests are on land controlled by the federal government.

While firefighters have made some progress this weekend on numerous blazes sweeping through the state, and officials have lowered evacuation requirements for some areas of Clackamas County, the Riverside fire is still a major area of concern, as is the abundance of wildfire smoke throughout the region.

"The debate is over around climate change".

A blitz of wildfires across Oregon, California and Washington has destroyed thousands of homes and a half dozen small towns this summer, scorching more than 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) and killing more than two dozen people since early August.

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years.

"We need a president who respects science, who understands that the damage from climate change is already here", Biden added.

Trump's visit follows a campaign event in Nevada, including an indoor rally in a Las Vegas suburb in defiance of a state restriction on gatherings of more than 50 people due to COVID-19. "This isn't about forest management or raking". The efforts can also be undercut when homeowners in rural areas don't undertake similar efforts on their own properties.

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"Where you have lots of people living on small acreages close together, and you've got houses and barns and sheds and corrals and fences, it's very hard to do a prescribed burn", Gersbach said.

Warnings of low moisture and strong winds could fan the flames in hard-hit southern OR to Northern California and last through Tuesday. The flames have turned homes into rubble, forced tens of thousands to flee and shrouded the region with smoke so thick that air quality was some of the worst in the world.

At least 35 people have died in California, Oregon and Washington, The Associated Press reported. Officials have said more people are missing, and the number of fatalities is likely to rise, though they have not said how high the toll could go as they search.

Although the environment has typically been a sideline issue, getting scant attention even during the Democratic primaries, the topic is one on which President Trump and Joe Biden are sharply divided.

"I would think the way the climate is changing, this may not be the last time", he said.

Firefighter Steve McAdoo, who has run from one blaze to another in OR for six days, said his neighbors in rural areas outside Portland should clear trees near their homes because a week like they just survived could happen again.

In Oregon, the spate of fires burned nearly twice the amount of average annual losses in a week. "There is something going on, that's for sure, man".

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