Jerry Brown: Climate-Change Deniers 'Definitely Contributing' to the 'New Abnormal' of Wildfires
California Gov. Jerry Brown said all climate-change deniers are "definitely contributing" to the fatal wind-whipped wildfires that have pummeled northern and southern parts of the state over the past few days, as well as blazes "in the coming years."
The Camp Fire in Butte County, north of Sacramento in California's Gold Rush country, has claimed the lives of at least 29 people, according to Cal Fire incident stats this evening. The blaze, which started Thursday, has destroyed 6,453 residences and 260 commercial buildings, making it the most destructive fire in the state's history as it ripped through Paradise, Calif., at a speed of 80 acres per minute, and was 25 percent contained at 111,000 acres. The cause is still under investigation.
California's Office of Emergency Services estimated late this afternoon that about 100 people are still unaccounted for in the area of the Camp Fire.
The Woolsey Fire has torched 85,500 acres in Ventura and Los Angeles counties after starting on Thursday, and was only 15 percent contained. The blaze resulted in the evacuation of Malibu, has reached the Pacific Coast Highway and is threatening Topanga Canyon. There have been two fatalities and 177 structures destroyed.
Thousands of firefighters battling the blazes include assistance sent by seven states, which contributed dozens of engines apiece that are either on scene or en route.
Dry conditions are expected to feed red-flag fire conditions through the end of this week; state officials are expecting winds to subside mid-week but warn that fire conditions will be dangerous until adequate rain falls.
Brown asked the White House for a presidential disaster declaration this morning; the state is already receiving FEMA assistance.