As the Bay Area and other parts of California deal with the devastating effects of raging wildfires, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Friday attacked the idea that the fires are natural in any way. He said the cause is climate change and said anyone who thinks differently is in denial.
"The debate is over around climate change," Newsom said as he toured a burn area in Northern California. "Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes. It’s not an intellectual debate. It’s not even debatable any longer."
He also said he's "exhausted that we have to continue to bait this issue."
"This is a climate damn emergency," he said. "This is real."
Craig Clements, the director of San Jose State University's Wildfire Research Center, said Newsom is essentially correct.
"Yeah, I agree with the governor’s assessment that climate change is to blame for this devastating wildfire season, however we can't blame every individual fire on climate change because there’s lots of factors that go into the wildlife environment," he said.
Dennis Patrick of Boulder Creek also agrees. He recently lost some of his property to wildfire flames, but firefighters managed to save his home.
"I definitely see that this is definitely because of climate change because we’re so close to the ocean. We get night fog," Patrick said. "I mean, the marine layer comes in. This area is dampened down, but even that couldn’t protect it."