President Joe Biden traveled to the West Coast on Monday to meet with state and local officials at sites hit by recent wildfires.
Multiple explosions in Northern California have burned millions of acres and thousands of structures during this fire season. The state says it is currently dealing with 15 major fires.
And challenging fire conditions are expected to endure for at least several more weeks. Forecasters expect above-average fire activity over the next two months in Northern California, the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rockies.
“These fires are blinking code red for our nation,” Biden said in an address in Sacramento County, California, organized after the president saw the damage from the Caldor Fire from Marine One. “They’re gaining frequency and speed and we know what we have to do.”
Earlier in the day, Biden stopped in Boise, Idaho for a briefing from federal and state fire agency officials at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). There he was told by Grant Beebe, assistant director of the Bureau of Land Management’s Office of Fire and Aviation, that the record fire “is teaching us that we need to change the way we do business.”
Biden is using the trip to advance his $1 trillion dollar infrastructure bill as well as his massive $3.5 trillion spending plan. He visited sites on the east coast affected by flash floods last week to convey a similar message.
“[The spending plan] Virtually provides billions of dollars for wildfire preparedness, resilience and response, forest management and public water sources,” Biden said Monday—as he continues to make the case that the bill will help mitigate the effects of climate change. will help.
“It’s not a Democrat thing; it’s not a Republican thing,” he said. “It’s a matter of the weather. it is fact. This is serious.”
Biden says extreme weather last year cost the country about $99 billion and is expected to cost even more this year.
As of last week, nearly 44,000 wildfires have burned more than 5 million acres of federal, state, local, tribal and private land this year—nearly 200,000 more than last year. On 14 July, the National Wildland Fire Preparedness Level (PL) was raised to Level 5 (out of 5). It was the first time we reached PL5 in the last 10 years, and by next week, it will also be the longest continuous-time period that has remained at that high.
Biden approved a presidential major disaster declaration last month to provide federal aid to California to deal with the Dixie, McFarland, Antelope, Monument and River fires. Caldor fire was added to the list over the weekend. Officials say it is about 65 percent contained.
Biden also used the Defense Production Act to aid in the production of firehose in August. The funding helped an Oklahoma City nonprofit called Newview Oklahoma to produce and ship the 415 mile firehose.
George Geisler, president of the National Association of State Foresters Wildland Fire Committee, spoke to the president on Monday about informal collaborative efforts between state and federal fire agencies, which regularly assist each other on fires outside their respective jurisdictions.
“[The threat of wildfires] It really needs national attention, and it needs to be integrated, it needs to be multifaceted,” Geisler said. “It needs to take on prevention, mitigation, response and recovery.”
The visit marks Biden’s first official visit to the West Coast as president. The tour also includes a stop later in the day in Long Beach to campaign for California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, who faced a recall vote on Tuesday. Biden will travel to Denver, Colorado on Tuesday to visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
This News Originally From – The Epoch Times