Politico

'We're going to see more' wildfires, Oregon governor warns


Oregon Gov. Kate Brown on Sunday warned that Oregon will see more wildfires like the massive conflagration that has become the largest in the country.

In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Brown blamed the effects of climate change for the likelihood of harsher fires.

“The harsh reality is that we’re going to see more of these wildfires,” Brown said. “They’re hotter, they’re more fierce, and obviously much more challenging to tackle. And they are a sign of the changing climate impacts. “

“Climate change is here, it’s real, and it’s like a hammer hitting us in the head,” the Democratic governor added. “And we have to take action.”

The Bootleg Wildfire burning near Oregon’s border with California has now charred more than 400,000 acres.

But Brown noted the state has also dealt with several other federal emergency declarations in addition to the ongoing Covid pandemic — including wildfires last fall, ice storms in February and a heat wave in the Pacific Northwest this summer that has been blamed for more than 100 deaths in Oregon.

“Obviously, I’m very concerned that these very high heat temperatures will continue,” Brown said.

Asked whether the federal government is doing enough in the near term to respond to the crises, rather than a long-term focus on combating climate change, Brown said her state enjoys a “strong partnership” with the Biden administration that includes federal assistance for thinning and burning to mitigate the risks of wildfires.

“I really appreciate the president stepping up and leading the way,” Brown said. “However, this is a $4 billion to $5 billion problem in Oregon. And we’re going to need to partner throughout the West to tackle these issues. As you well know, wildfire knows no jurisdictional boundaries.”

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