US President Joe Biden surveyed the damage caused by the Caldor Fire after being briefed by officials at the state emergency services office in California while amplifying his message about climate change.
“Even some of my less believing friends are all of a sudden having an altar call. They are seeing the Lord,” Biden said pointing towards those who have sought to minimize the risks posed by climate change, the Associated Press reported.
Governor Gavin Newsom, who faces a recall vote on Tuesday, joined the President for the briefing.
Newsom said the emergency center had become his office because fire season has “just kept going" while adding that the last year and a half has been hard.
“The reality is we have a global warming problem, a serious global warming problem, and it's consequential, and what's going to happen is, things are not going to go back," he said.
Biden, who visits Denver on Tuesday before returning to Washington, aimed to link the increasing frequency of wildfires, drought, floods, and other extreme weather events to what he and scientists say is a need to invest billions in combating climate change, along with vastly expanding the nation's social safety net.
During an earlier briefing in Boise at the National Interagency Fire Center, which coordinates the government's wildfire response, Biden noted that wildfires start earlier every year and that this year they have scorched 5.4 million acres.
“That's larger than the entire state of New Jersey,” Biden said.
The president argued for spending now to make the future effects of climate change less costly, as he did during recent stops in Louisiana, New York and New Jersey — all states that suffered millions of dollars in flood and other damage and scores of deaths after Hurricane Ida.