Since mid-August, wildfires have spread throughout the Western US at an astonishing and historic rate. As of early Friday, wildfires have forced the evacuations of hundreds of thousands of people, killed at least 15 people, and burned 4.5 million acres across 12 states, including California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado. In addition to this devastating loss of life and land, the fast-moving fires have driven a dangerous spike in air pollution.
Ken Berlin, president and CEO of The Climate Reality Project, released the following statement:
“All of us at Climate Reality are devastated to see the wildfires ravaging the Western United States. Our thoughts are with those who have lost their lives, homes, businesses, and communities to these catastrophic fires.
“Make no mistake: this is the climate crisis in action. For decades, scientists have warned that rising temperatures would lead to more extreme weather, and we’re seeing their predictions play out in horrifying detail again and again. In this instance, intense, record-breaking heat and widespread drought conditions set the stage for a fire disaster. How much more destruction and suffering do our leaders need to see before they take the climate crisis seriously and act?
“We refuse to stand by while our communities burn. Especially when the solutions we need are in our hands today. It’s time to work together to cut the dangerous fossil fuel emissions driving this crisis and embrace bold solutions that put us on the path towards a clean energy economy – one that puts millions of Americans to work in good green jobs, ensures we all have clean air and safe water, and leads to a healthier, just, equitable society.