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Political Wildfires: Trump Points to Forest Mismanagement, Biden Labels Him a 'Climate Arsonist'

09-15-2020

The dangerous West Coast wildfires have destroyed vast areas for more than a week now, raising the death toll to 35 while dozens more are still missing.

Search efforts are underway in Oregon where six towns have been destroyed. Fire crews and K-9s are combing through charred rubble, looking for any sign of the missing. 

Evacuees face a scene of utter devastation as they return to their neighborhoods for the first time.

Resident Ashley Britten was shocked by the magnitude of destruction left behind by the wildfires. "It's the worst thing I've ever seen in my life. I had seen videos, but it's a thousand times worse than I could have ever imagined," Britten said.

Smoke from the fires is presenting a second hazard as it has started leaking into homes and businesses.

Portland now has the worst air quality in the world and officials are warning people to stay indoors.

"I don't think that we should be outside, but at the same time, we've been cooped up in the house already for months so it's kind of hard to dictate what's good and what's bad. I mean, we shouldn't be outside period," said Portland resident Issa Ubidia-Luckett.

Residents in Arcadia, California were ordered to evacuate Sunday morning due to the Bobcat Fire, which started on Sep 6. 

Poor air, foggy skies, and burning odors have lowered the living conditions throughout the Los Angeles area.

Carole J. McCoy, who lives in North Hollywood, described the air around her neighborhood as a "sheer, dusky, powdery layer of particles and smoke."

In California alone, the total insured losses could top $13 billion. Similar losses were recorded in 2017 when the state had three of the top five costliest fires in American history.

And in Seattle, the air quality has been "moderate" to "hazardous" for the past week. Locals are anxiously awaiting wind and rain to help drive smoke away from the area.

Meanwhile, the fires have become a campaign issue.

During President Trump's visit to California on Monday, state officials blamed climate change for the fires but Trump disagreed.

When asked whether climate change was an influence in the destructive wildfires, Trump responded, "I think this is more of a management situation."

"When you have years of leaves, dried leaves on the ground, it just sets it up, it's really a fuel for a fire," he added.

His comments prompted a heated reply from Joe Biden. "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?" Biden said. 

Biden then added more fuel to the fire, claiming that President Trump "fails to protect us from the pandemic, from an economic free fall, from racial unrest, from the ravages of climate change. It's clear that we're not safe in Donald Trump's America. This is Donald Trump's America. He's in charge."

The Democratic presidential candidate then vowed that if elected, he will "meet this moment with urgency and purpose. We can and we will solve the climate crisis."

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