Gov. Newsom: More Than 7,000 Fires Seen in CA in 2020, Warns of Climate Change

75756A5E-120A-4932-810C-2FD980DB785E
By KNX 1070 NEWSRADIO

Gov. Gavin Newsom gives an update on the wildfires burning across the state on Wednesday.

Newsom said when President Trump was in California visiting wildfire damage a few days ago that "we all recognize our responsibility, the federal, state and private landowners, doing more and doing better in terms of our vegetation efforts, forest management efforts. 

Newsom stressed the trend line of California's average temperatures are only going up due to climate change. 

He said "It is profoundly impactful. Average temperatures in the state of California during these summer months increasing over the last number of decades. This is a direct cause and effect to the experience we are currently having this climate, human-induced wildfire season."

He said there is a sense of urgency to address the issue of climate change in the state.

"The fundamental fact cannot be denied," he said."There are no Democratic and no Republican thermometers. There's fact and there's reality as well as observed evidence. It's not a belief system, it's an acknowledgment. The facts are the facts." 

Just last week, Newsom also blasted critics of climate change while urging the country to get on board before California’s disasters become the nation’s own, according to a KCBS story.

Newsom showed a chart where wildfires have burned more than 3.4 million acres so far in 2020, compared to 1.9 million acres burned compared to 2018 compared to 2011 where more than 220,000 acres burned.

He said in 2019 there were 5,136 fires and 152,000 acres burned compared to 2020 where there are now 7,860 fires in 2020 and more than 3.4 million acres burned.

There are 25 major fires with more than 38,000 people evacuated, 25 fatalities, more than 4,200 structures destroyed, more than 17,000 firefighters battling these fires and 2,200 engines.

CA FIRES

Newsom mentioned the Creek Fire which is 18 percent contained and burning more than 220,000 acres. 

-The North Complex fire is 36 percent contained and more than 273,000 acres burned.

-The LNU fire is 97 percent contained and has burned more than 363,000 acres.

-The CZU fire is 93 percent contained now and has burned 86,000 acres.

-The August Fire is now 817,000 acres burned and 30 percent contained.

-LA County Board of Supervisors, meanwhile, have declared a local emergency due to the Bobcat fire.

- The El Dorado fire is now 16,000 acres burned and 10 percent contained.

Earlier this month, Newsom indicated that 2.3 million acres have already burned this year so far from wildfires - more than the 118,000 acres burned in 2019. That number has jumped to 3.4 million acres now.

"What we’re experiencing right here is coming to a community all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change," the governor told reporters according to the KCBS story. "Unless we disabuse ourselves of all the B.S. that’s being spewed by a very small group of people that have an ideological reason to advance the cause of a 19th century framework and solution. We’re not going back to the 19th century."

The governor made the comments while surveying destruction left behind by the North Complex Fire near Lake Oroville in Butte County.

In his briefing on Wednesday, Newsom tackled the issue of housing the homeless in the state. He said there will be $600 million to purchase motels and other housing for the homeless in Project Homekey and the first awards will be issued today including $76.5 million, 579 units, 10 projects in 7 jurisdictions. Those will be in the Tahoe area, Lake Elsinore, El Centro, Medoconia County, San Jose and scattered sites in Kern County.

There are no Democratic thermometers or Republican thermometers.The fact is -- our average temperature has increased over the last 40 years.We’re experiencing record temperatures across CA. The hottest August on record.The evidence of climate change is all around us. pic.twitter.com/lAeCoDKvxQ

— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) September 16, 2020

COVID-19

The state has rolled out a new blueprint for reopening guidelines with four new tiers. The metrics to move through the tiers will be case rate and test positivity for county movement. Newsom updated on Wednesday there are 30 counties in the purple tier and 17 counties in red. Marin and Inyo Counties moved from purple to red tiers.

LA County is still in the purple tier and has indicated it will hold off on reopening until the end of this month.

"We are sticking to it over the long run," he said.

purple -widespread where most non-essential indoor businesses remain closed

red - substantial where some non-essential indoor businesses operations are closed

orange - moderate where some business operations are open with modifications.

 yellow - minimal where most business operations are open with modifications.

On Sept. 15, California now has 760,013 confirmed cases of COVID-19, resulting in 14,451 deaths. The number of COVID-related deaths increased by 0.5 percent from Sunday's total of 14,385. The number of COVID-19 diagnostic test results in California reached a total of 12,928,170, an increase of 121,981 tests since Sunday. The rate of positive tests over the last 14 days is 3.6 percent. 

REQUIREMENTS TO ADVANCE in TIERS

21 day-mandatory wait time between moves

Meet the metrics for the next tier for two straight weeks.

Counties can only move one tier at a time

Assesses weekly

REQUIREMENTS TO MOVE BACK in TIERS

Fail to meet current tier's metrics for two straight weeks