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Biden, Newsom meet to discuss resource shortages in fighting wildifres

"We need your help to change the culture in terms of the suppression strategies," Newsom told President Biden.
Credit: AP
President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting with governors to discuss ongoing efforts to strengthen wildfire prevention, preparedness and response efforts, and hear firsthand about the ongoing impacts of the 2021 wildfire season in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House Campus in Washington, Friday, July 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — President Joe Biden is sounding the alarm about the need for more resources to fight a series of wildfires in Western states.

The president met Friday with governors of western states, including California Go. Gavin Newsom, to discuss the resulting supply shortages as the fires have worsened. Biden says climate change is to blame for the spread and ferocity of the blazes. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee says the president must ultimately pass measures through Congress to limit climate change.

When President Biden brought up PG&E's plan to bury 10,000 miles of power lines, he asked Newsom what that would do to the cost of energy for Californians. While the governor didn't directly answer the question, he pointed out that PG&E's plan could cost up to $3.5 million a mile.

After briefly speaking about the Wildfire and Forest Resilience Task Force, Newsom pointed out that 57% of the forest property in California is under federal jurisdiction — only 3% is under California's — and too often, Newsom said, the approach by the U.S. Forest Service comes from a "wait and see" culture. 

"This was a federal fire, they waited and what we saw was the fire took off because we didn't put initial assets," Newsom told Biden, referencing the Tamarack Fire and his recent visit to the site with Nevada Gov. Sisolak. "We need your help to change the culture in terms of the suppression strategies. In this climate, literally and figuratively, to be more aggressive with federal fires."

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