Newsom calls fires a climate emergency

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OROVILLE, Calif. (KTXL) — With wildfires having scorched 3.1 million acres and counting in California, Governor Gavin Newsom is directing state agencies to speed up some environmental goals.

“This is a climate damn emergency,” Newsom said. “This is real.”

After touring wildfire destruction in Butte County on Friday, as five of the state’s largest wildfires burn, Newsom ordered the state Environmental Protection and Natural Resources agencies to figure out how to move up mandated timelines to increase green energy use and decrease carbon emissions.

California originally aimed to be carbon free by 2045, which Newsom says is not soon enough.

“We’re seeing impacts today that we thought would materialize in mid-century,” Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot said.

On the frontlines, more than 14,000 California firefighters battle the blazes. Other states are coming in to try to contain the historic fires with West Coast crews stretched thin.

Newsom signed a new law on Friday giving inmate handcrews a path to becoming professional firefighters once they’re released from prison.

“We’ll give those prisoners hope of actually getting a job in the profession they’ve been trained,” Newsom said.

As poor air quality chokes the state and with millions of acres charred, Newsom was not mincing his words about the Trump administration’s attempts to push back on California’s environmental goals.

“They’re leading the charge of keeping you protected and healthy and safe and they’re in denial about climate change,” Newsom said. “They’re not truly I think in the position to be the kind of leaders that we need.”

California has sued the Trump administration 100 times. The majority of those lawsuits are environment-related.

Despite their ideological differences, the governor says he’s not worried about the White House holding up emergency dollars for these disasters. He says he spoke with President Trump for a half-hour, who seemed committed to helping.

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