SEATTLE (NEWS 1130) – The smoky skies and poor air quality we are seeing across B.C. are a direct result of the huge tracts of the western U.S. that are in flames right now, during a wildfire season that has prompted a sobering declaration from one Pacific Northwest governor.
From California into Oregon and up into Washington state, the destruction is unprecedented with some communities completely destroyed and close to three dozen people killed. Dozens more are missing.
Washington governor Jay Inslee says unless people make dramatic changes to their lifestyle, intense wildfires and difficult circumstances are here to stay.
“We need to act and we need to act now,” the governor told ABC’s This Week.
Inslee asserts that the wildfires that have consumed 627,000 of acres in his state so far this year are a direct result of climate change.
“The skies have smoke like you’ve never seen before, except two or three years ago. It’s apocalyptic,” Inslee said. “These are not just wildfires, these are climate fires.”
Farther south in Oregon, the operation section chief overseeing the 133,000 acre Riverside fire in Clackamas county says he is short equipment and personnel.
“We are literally out of firefighters and equipment due to the sheer magnitude of fires that are occurring in the western United States,” said Chief Ralph Lucas, who told Portland’s KATU that he needs 35 more engines.
Lucas said his requests have gone unfulfilled and it is not clear when he will receive more resources.
U.S. President Donald Trump is due to visit California today to speak with firefighters and hear updates, on his way to campaign stops in Arizona and Nevada.
His critics say Trump has been abnormally quiet on the wildfire situation in the U.S., his first tweet on the topic was last Friday.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, along with Inslee and Oregon Governor Kate Brown are calling out President Trump’s comments during a rally Saturday that put the blame for record-breaking wildfires in the westernmost states solely on “forest management” with no mention of climate change