Wildfire causes include climate change and more

VIDEO: Fact checking the fire season

Gov. Jay Inslee points to hotter, dryer summers caused by climate change as the cause of these huge fires. But critics say focusing on climate change doesn’t do much to solve the immediate problem.

“Even if we did everything we could on climate change, everything the governor wants, it would make no difference in forest fires across the state for the next 20, even 50 years,” said Todd Myers, Director of the Center for the Environment at the conservative Washington Policy Center.

Myers believes more of the focus should be on forest health — cleaning up the heavy flammable fuels that have accumulated.

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“Look, we’re doing those things in the short term. We’re doing management of about 60-thousand acres on state land,” Inslee responded at a news conference.

Inslee is also looking at the huge fires in California, where just yesterday President Donald Trump dismissed climate change as a factor.

“It will start getting cooler, you just watch,” Trump said.

“I wish science agreed with you,” a California official responded.

“Oh well, I don’t think science knows, actually,” Trump said.

That attitude outrages Inslee, who said, “He’s said that climate change is a hoax, it’s just going to cool down, and then look for excuses for inaction, just like he did on COVID. And having seen people stand in the ashes of their homes, that’s not acceptable to me, and it shouldn’t be acceptable to any Washingtonian.”

It’s been hot and dry previous years, but this year unusually intense winds from the east have been driving the big fires in western Washington.

“The connection between climate change and wind is something we know less about,” said Dr. Crystal Raymond, who studies the impact of climate change at the University of Washington.

“Even if we don’t get more of these east wind events with climate change, we would still expect to see more wildfire simply because of the dryer conditions setting the stage for that.”

Inslee points out that the federal government owns about 42% of Washington’s forests. He says Trump has been proposing substantial cuts in the money used to pay for forest management.