LOS ANGELES, Sept 16 (NNN-AGENCIES) — USPresident Donald Trump has dismissed concerns over climate change on a visit to fire-ravaged California, telling an official there it would “start getting cooler”.
Blazes in California, Oregon and Washington state have burned almost 2m hectares of land and killed at least 35 people since early August.
Climate change sceptic Trump blames the crisis on poor forest management.
Earlier on Monday, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called Trump “a climate arsonist”.
He told an event in Delaware that four more years of his opponent in the White House would see “more of America ablaze”.
During his visit to the US West Coast, Trump repeated his argument that poor forest management was to blame as he met Californian officials involved in the battle against the wildfires at a stop near Sacramento, in the centre of the state.
Dismissing one official’s plea to not “ignore the science” on climate change, Trump said: “It’ll start getting cooler, you just watch… I don’t think science knows actually.”
When asked by a reporter whether climate change was a factor in the massive wildfires, Trump responded: “I think this is more of a management situation.”
He claimed that other countries had not dealt with the same level of forest fires, despite major conflagrations in Australia and the Amazon rainforest in recent years that experts attributed to the changing climate.
“They don’t have problems like this,” he said. “They have very explosive trees, but they don’t have problems like this.”
He added: “When you get into climate change, well is India going to change its ways? And is China going to change its ways? And Russia? Is Russia going to change its ways?”
Authorities in California, where 24 people have died since Aug 15, report that firefighters are working to contain 29 major wildfires across the state.
The US National Weather Service also issued a “red flag warning” for other areas of the West Coast, including Jackson County, Oregon, where the Almeda Fire has destroyed hundreds of homes.
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said that firefighters in the state were struggling to contain more than 30 active wildfires – the largest of which was more than 89km wide.
At least 10 people have been killed in Oregon in the past week. Officials have said dozens of people are missing and warned that the death toll could rise.
One person has died in Washington, where there were five large fires on Sunday. — NNN-AGENCIES