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As the West begins to burn, Biden to talk wildfires with Newsom and other governors

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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

President Biden will meet Wednesday with Cabinet officials and leaders from Western states, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, as he faces what could be another devastating year of wildfires with drought conditions worsening and searing temperatures spreading.The situation has alarmed experts and public officials, who warn that this year’s fire season could outpace last year’s, which was the worst on record. Blazes have already ignited around California, where dry vegetation has left large swaths of the state primed to explode into flames, even as the federal government struggles to hire firefighters.“We’re at a point where we’re simply going to be overwhelmed year after year going forward given the current systems we have in place,” said Jim Whittington, an expert in wildland fire response. “We really need to look at the way we staff and work wildland fires, the way we fund them, and the way we take care of our people. We need a full reset.”

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