Eleanor Hildebrandt | July 1, 2021
President Joe Biden met with governors from Western states on Wednesday to discuss the record-breaking heat wave their states face this summer. He said climate change is what is driving the increased threat of wildfires on the coast.
Governors from California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming met with the president. Portland, Oregon, set a record-high temperature three days in a row this week. Seattle, Washington, also saw high temperatures, hitting 108 degrees, eight below Portland’s high. The heat is causing some medical emergencies and sudden deaths in states, according to CNN.
This was the first meeting of its kind, however, there are annual meetings between the Federal Emergency Management Agency officials and presidents to discuss the Atlantic hurricane season. The wildfire season this year is shaping up to be devastating. Biden said the states are “playing catch-up” when it comes to counteracting these fires and their root causes, calling the area “under-resourced.”
The National Interagency Fire Center estimated more than 1 million acres in Western states have burned already this year.
At the meeting, Biden announced his plans to create an incentive program for firefighters to improve recruitment and retention. The administration also plans to expand the federal government’s wildfire prevention and response.