Acting Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler told senators Wednesday that "the biggest issue with wildfires is forest management ... not drought," Axios reports. He made the claim during his confirmation hearing to become the agency's permanent head.
A federal climate report released late last year outlined the effects of climate change on wildfires, and found with medium confidence that human-caused climate change has contributed to forest fires in Alaska. The report also predicted a continued increase in the number of forest fires due to climate change.
California saw its deadliest wildfire in history last year, and the 2018 wildfire season was the state's worst, Axios reports. July of 2018 was California's hottest month on record. President Trump, like Wheeler, blamed the disasters on poor forest management, and threatened to end federal relief payments to California unless the state changed its forest management techniques. Experts say forest management is a factor, but not the sole cause of wildfires, especially in non-forested areas of California that burned last year.
Rising temperatures also contribute to the lengthening of the wildfire season, in part by worsening droughts. Read more at Axios, and more about climate change's role in California's fires here at The Week. Marianne Dodson