An airplane makes a fire retardant drop on a burning hill near in a fire that burned nearly 2,000 acres in northern San Diego County in May 2014. A 14-year-old girl convicted of starting the fire was sentenced Wednesday to 400 hours of community service.(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Even as wildfires cool in San Diego, Gov. Jerry Brown is heating up his argument that what the state really is battling is global warming.
“We here in California are on the front lines,” Brown said on ABC in the first of two Sunday morning news show appearances.
“We’ve got to deal with it. We’ve already appropriated $600 million. We have 5,000 firefighters. We’re going to need thousands more. And in the years to come, we’re going to have to make very expensive investments and adjust. And the people are going to have to be careful of how they live, how they build their homes and what kind of vegetation is allowed to grow around them.”
The governor repeated his belief that this spring’s fire season, already consuming 25,000 acres and destroying dozens of homes in San Diego County, has been worsened by climate change brought on by human activity.
He told CNN host Candy Crowley that California’s fire season is now more than two months longer than it was a decade ago, and that fire crews must be activated year-round instead of seasonally.
He said there was “political denial,” especially among Republicans, of forces that he said are changing the way Californians must live.
“We’re going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature,” Brown said on ABC.
“In California, we’re not only adapting, but we’re taking steps to reduce our greenhouse gases in a way that I think exceeds any other state in the country. And we’ll do more.
“In the meantime, all we can do is fight all these damn fires.”
In other remarks, Brown also defended the use of water for shale-oil fracking wells, warned that California should not “open the floodgates” to recreational use of marijuana, and declared Hillary Clinton the “overwhelming favorite” among potential Democratic candidates for president.
Brown on Monday is scheduled to speak at a climate-change conference in Sacramento hosted by the University of California.