“The 2nd, 3rd & 4th largest wildfires in California’s history continue to rage. The sky on the West Coast turned red & orange. Please don’t tell me the Green New Deal is radical,” Sanders said on Thursday alongside a photo of San Francisco’s orange sky.
“What’s radical is having a president in office who rejects science and calls climate change a hoax,” he added:
Similarly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) said the images coming out of his state represent a “cry out for change.”
“CA has invested more in wildfire prevention than any time in our history. Enacted bold climate policies. But it’s not enough,” he said. “We must do more. We need action at EVERY level. CA cannot do this alone.”
“Climate change is REAL,” he added, urging Americans to vote:
“This is what climate change looks like,” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said, providing pictures of the scenes in the west. “The proof is right in front of us”:
“None of this is normal, and confronting climate change is on the ballot this year,” Hillary Clinton said on Thursday, asking people to vote “as early as you can, for a habitable planet”:
Other progressive leaders joined in the narrative, demanding climate change action:
Critics say the left’s narrative is misguided, as it ignores the reality of poor forest management driven by environmentalists. Earlier this year, a panel of experts attributed the wildfires across the region to “the way we manage lands and develop our landscape” rather than climate change, primarily, as Breitbart News
Speaking at the annual
conference of the National Council for Science and the Environment in Washington D.C., Scott Stephens, a professor of fire science at the University of California, Berkeley, said that perhaps 20 to 25 percent of the wildfire damage resulted from climate change, whereas “75 percent is the way we manage lands and develop our landscape.”
Stephens noted that in past centuries, wildfires were far more widespread than they are today, and played a vital role in California’s ecosystem by helping to thin forests, Thomas Frank reported for E&E News.
In the 18th century, for instance, when California was occupied by indigenous communities, wildfires would burn up some 4.5 million acres a year, said Stephens, whereas from 2013 through 2019, wildfires burned an average of just 935,000 acres annually in California.
A greater focus has been placed on “fire suppression” rather than prescribed burning, which California’s Environmental Protection Agency
described as “the intentional use of fire to reduce wildfire hazards, clear downed trees, control plant diseases, improve rangeland and wildlife habitats, and restore natural ecosystems.”
“Fire suppression activities over the last 100-150 years have largely taken fire out of the system, causing far-reaching changes in habitats and forest health,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) states on its website.
“Many of the forest plant communities are not adapted to today’s exceedingly hot fires,” CAL FIRE continued. “During these fires many mature trees succumb from top kill while others have their roots killed due to decades of accumulated debris burning down into the root zones.”
Newsom recently agreed to a plan a $1 billion plan, in agreement with the United States Forest Service, to “clear vegetation that fuels fires on one million acres annually by 2025, with a plan on how to do that in place in 2021,” as Breitbart News
One hundred and two fires are raging across 12 states and have
burned 4.4 million acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.