California Governor Gavin Newsom visited the devastation caused by the Dixie fire in the upstate on Saturday.
The blaze became the largest wildland fire in state history, according to Bay Area FOX 2.
“Our hearts are aching for this city,” Newsom tweeted with a photo of burnt rubble that was once the Greenville Post Office. “Greenville, while this moment may seem overwhelming, we’ll be there to help you rebuild. “
$ 150 million slashed
The governor, who faces a recall election next month over issues such as his handling of the coronavirus, said he plans to review wildfire prevention efforts when he is elected in 2019, but a report de June said he had distorted the scope and success of forest management projects, according to NPR.
The CapRadio and California Newsroom investigation also found that the governor had cut funding for fire prevention by $ 150 million.
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Newsom claimed 90,000 acres of forest had been treated with prescribed burns, forest thinning or other prevention efforts, but only 12,000 acres were actually treated, according to the state’s own data, according to Scott Rodd who revealed the story for CapRadio.
Rodd told NPR Newsom he turned down CapRadio’s interview requests, but Cal Fire chief Thom Porter said his department was responsible for the governor’s false statements about a lack of communicationIcation.
Rodd said Porter added: “It’s hard to prevent future fires when there are fires going on, especially in a year like last year when you had a record number of fires. fires at the same time. ”
Recall challenger Kevin Faulconer, a former mayor of San Diego, criticized Newsom’s handling of wildfires on Saturday.
“#DixieFire is now the biggest in AC history. Greenville was tragically destroyed last night,” he tweeted. “Gavin Newsom’s failed ideas increase the danger of these fires. We need significant fuel reduction, better #fire roads and robust escape routes for every community. One foot at war. #Forest fires . “
The Dixie Fire is the latest in a series of devastating wildfires across the state in recent years, spread by record heat, dry weather and strong winds.
The fire destroyed hundreds of homes and razed much of the small town of Greenville, about 150 miles north of Sacramento.
The roughly 1,000 residents of Greenville were asked to evacuate on Wednesday as the flames closed down and burned down various wooden buildings, some of which were over 100 years old.
The Plumas County Sheriff’s Office warned residents on Wednesday night: “If you are still in the Greenville area you are in imminent danger and you MUST go now !!”
Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss called the destruction “our biggest nightmare.”
“The Dixie fire burned down our entire downtown area. Our historic buildings, family homes, small businesses and our children’s schools are completely lost,” Goss wrote on Facebook Wednesday. “Every square inch of downtown holds countless memories for every member of our small community and a great deal of history from our ancestors.”
No injuries or deaths were immediately reported, but the Plumas County Sheriff’s Office said Friday evening it was still working to make contact with eight missing people.
Dixie is the largest active fire in California with 446,723 acres and just 35% containment on Saturday afternoon. More than 5,000 people are working to fight the fire. Pacific Gas & Electric said last month that the fire may have started when a tree fell on one of its power lines.
There were 17 active wildfires statewide on Saturday, according to Cal Fire.
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Some scientists blame climate change for the increase in forest fires in recent decades. A 2016 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that “the observed warming and drying dramatically increased the aridity of fuels during the fire season, promoting a more favorable fire environment in forest systems.”
Paul Best of Fox News contributed to this report.
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