Gavin Newsom at Ash-Strewn Wildfire Site: ‘The Debate Is Over Around Climate Change’

“The debate is over around climate change. Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes,” a grinning Newsom told reporters while touring the fire-ravaged North Complex near Oroville. “It’s not an intellectual debate, it’s not even debatable.”

“We’re in the midst of a climate emergency, we’re in the midst of a climate crisis,” he continued. “We’re experiences weather conditions the likes of which we’ve never experienced in our lifetime. We’re experiencing what so many people predicted decades and decades ago. All of that now is reality.”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday that the August Complex Fire has burned 471,185 acres in the Elk Creek and Stonyford area, surpassing the 2018 Mendocino Complex Fire, which burned 459,123 acres.

Six of the largest fires in California’s history have taken place in 2020. Cal Fire said 29 major wildfires are active and more than 3.1 million acres have burned in the state since the beginning of the season.

The National Interagency Fire Center said 102 large fires have burned a combined 4.4 million acres in 12 states in the western United States, resulting in some two dozen deaths in California, Oregon, and Washington.

In California, five people were killed in the LNU Lightning Complex, 10 were killed in the North Complex, and one each was killed in the CZU August Lightning Complex, August Lightning Complex, Tatham Fire, and Hills Fires.

The UPI contributed to this report.