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Trump still rejects science at California fire briefing

Mr. Trump, who had come under intense criticism for barely dealing with the crisis before, interrupted a Western election campaign to pay a two-hour visit to an airport in McClellan Park outside Sacramento, where Air Force One dropped off. through a smoky haze. Not far away, one of the largest fires, now largely contained, recently burned more than 363,000 acres.

As soon as the president stepped off the plane at Sacramento McClellan Airport, where the stench of smoke filled the air, he didn’t wait for his scheduled briefing to tell reporters that the cause of the fire was poor forest management. not climate change.

“When trees fall after a short period of time, they become very dry, just like a matchstick,” Trump said. “And they can explode. Even the leaves. When you’ve dried the leaves on the ground, it’s just fuel for the fires. “

At his next briefing, however, Governor Gavin Newsom and his chief environmental adviser pushed the president to recognize the role of climate change. Mr. Newsom, a Democrat, was obliged to do this in an extremely polite manner, reaffirming his working relationship with the president, thanking him for federal help, and agreeing on the need to improve forest management.

But Mr. Newsom noted that only 3 percent of the land in California is under state control, while 57 percent is federal forest land, meaning under the president’s management as governed by federal law.

“As you suggest, the employment relationship I appreciate,” said Mr. Newsom. But he said climate change is clearly a factor. “Something is happening to the plumbing of the world, and we come from a perspective, humbly, where we present the science and the evidence observed is clear that climate change is real, and that is exacerbating it.”

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