President Donald Trump will visit California on September 14 to take stock of the fires that are raging across the American West. The fires have killed 27 people since the summer, burned more than two million hectares since the beginning of the year and forced tens of thousands of people to be evacuated.
The White House announced on Saturday that “President Donald Trump will visit California on Monday where he will be briefed on the state of fire in the state.” A visit eagerly awaited as millions of acres went up in smoke this year in the American West and 19 new victims were identified this week in the states of Oregon, Washington and California alone. .
The US president will meet rescue officials at the front line to fight fires that have already charred 1.2 million acres in California this year, a record. In addition to the burned vegetation in Oregon and the state of Washington, forest fires have consumed more than two million hectares, while the fire season theoretically does not end until November.
According to experts, climate change affected
For local authorities and many experts, the extent of these forest fires, which range from Canada to Mexico, is linked to climate change, which exacerbates chronic drought and causes extreme weather conditions.
This is also the opinion of Joe Biden, a Democratic opponent of President Trump in the November presidential election, who on Saturday condemned “an existential threat”. He received Donald Trump, a notorious climate skeptic.
“President Trump may try to deny reality, but the facts are indisputable. We must absolutely act to avoid a future marked by an endless flood of tragedies, such as the one that American families have suffered in the West today,” he said in a statement.
500,000 people in danger in Oregon
In Oregon, more than 400,000 acres went to ashes and seven deaths were recorded this week. Relief has no news from dozens of other people. The endangered areas affect a total of 500,000 residents in this state, and more than 40,000 people had actually been evacuated on Friday at noon.
About fifteen families from the small town of Estacada, evacuated earlier this week, took refuge in the parking lot of a university in Gresham (20 km east of Portland).
They are protected in motorhomes, caravans or tents and would like to return to see if their house is still standing. On Saturday, residents had also returned to Estacada, where a thick cloud of smoke still hung over the city and the streets were almost deserted.
Some residents, sometimes heavily armed, patrolled in search of intruders, worried about unconfirmed information and reported looting in evacuated areas.
In neighboring California, tolls rose to eleven victims of the flames on Saturday, including nine in Butte County alone, still traumatized by the memory of the November 2018 fires that left 86 dead and reduced to the ash city of Paradise. Eight people had already died in the fires in August.
Today’s only good news: what the rescue service had originally taken for a victim was in fact just a charred laboratory skeleton, made of resin.