Trump arrives in California for wildfires briefing

Sacramento (AFP) –


President Donald Trump arrived Monday in California to be briefed on wildfires engulfing swaths of the US West.

The quick stop during a three-day reelection campaign swing was the first time Trump has visited California since the devastating blazes began.

Minutes earlier, Democratic challenger Joe Biden branded Trump a "climate arsonist" whose policies are contributing to evermore powerful natural disasters.

On arrival in McClellan Park, near Sacramento in central California, Trump repeated his argument that the ever-growing danger from wildfires in places like California, Oregon and Washington is due to insufficient maintenance of forest areas to make them less combustible.

"There has to be strong forest management," he said.

"With regard to the forests, when trees fall down after a short period of time, about 18 months, they become very dry. They become really like a match stick," he said. "They just explode."

Trump immediately went into a meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom, who has strongly argued that the fires are driven mostly by global warming.

Newsom acknowledged that "we have not done justice on our forest management," though he pointed out that more than half of the land in California is under federal, not state control.

But he said the overwhelming cause of the problem is far bigger.

"The hots are getting hotter, the dries are getting drier," he said. "We submit the science is in and observed evidence is self-evident: that climate change is real and that is exacerbating this."