On a virtual call, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris spoke with Govs. Gavin Newsom of California, Jay Inslee of Washington, Kate Brown of Oregon, Geg Gianforte of Montana, Tim Walz of Minnesota, and Mark Gordon of Wyoming.
Montana Gov. Gianforte said, "I can take you 10 miles west of the state capitol in Helena and show you a forest where 90% of the trees are standing dead." He added that extreme drought conditions had transformed forests into "tinderboxes."
Washington Gov. Inslee said his state needs "additional aerial assets" to surveil the burning fires. The largest fire in the state, or possibly the country, is dubbed the "Bootleg Fire," has burnt more than 400,000 acres in the southern part of the state.
Inslee also said infrastructure is key to preventing wildfires. He said, "the fact of the matter is there is nothing in human intervention against these fires if climate change continues to ravage our forests."
"There is only one way to save these forests from the ravages of climate," Inslee added. "We won't recognize these forests as forests anymore unless we realize your vision."
Biden replied to the governors and said, "we can't ignore how the overlapping and intertwined factors -- extreme heat, prolonged drought and supercharged wildfire conditions -- are affecting the country. And so this is a challenge that demands our urgent, urgent action."
Biden: "We can't ignore how the intertwined factors (of climate change)—extreme heat, prolonged drought and supercharged wildfire conditions—are affecting the country" pic.twitter.com/hrtwLEYNxE
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) July 30, 2021
"We're in a for a long fight yet this year and the only way we're going to meet those challenges is by working together. Wildfires are a problem for all of us and we have to stay closely coordinated in doing everything we can for our people," the president said.
Congressional Democrats have been pushing to fund the Civilian Climate Corps in the infrastructure bill that would hire young adults to work on projects to mitigate future wildfires. The president said, "the truth is it's not fundamentally different in the help it could provide than the civilian corps put together in the Depression."
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently 83 large fires that have burned 1,741,281 acres in 13 states. Exceptional drought conditions and heat waves turned the Western half of the US into a tinder box that is likely to see more wildfires as the fire season progresses.
Fri, 07/30/2021 - 23:20