United States (US) Senator Jeff Merkley (D) Oregon, has described as "apocalyptic" the tragedy of western wildfires and their choking-smoke impacts upon a large swath of the dry American west, where deadly flames have sadly claimed 35 lives and scorched more than four-million acres in California, Oregon and Washington. Some nine other western states are also experiencing wildfires.
The New York Times, citing Senator Merkley's remarks on the ABC program, 'This Week' on Sunday, quoted the Democrat as saying: "I drove 600-miles up and down the state (Oregon), and I never escaped the smoke. We have thousands of people who have lost their homes. I could have never envisioned this." He concluded: "It is apocalyptic."
Striking a similar tone, Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) described that the tragedy was a "perfect storm" of conditions including rapid wind speeds, high temperatures and decades of drought in the west. She added that over the past decade, 500,000 acres would burn in a normal fire-threat season across the region, but last week alone, one-million acres had burned in one-state. "This is a wake-up call for all of us," the Governor warned.
Climate Change has exacerbated weather conditions across the globe, and the US is certainly not immune from the effects. In Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the polar regions, prolonged droughts, mammoth monsoon rains, increasing numbers of hurricanes and typhoons, unprecedented polar ice-cap melts along with wildfires raging from Australia to the Amazon and to the western US, are all connected to the reality of Climate Change.
Yet, as most nations have recognized Climate Change as adverse to sustaining humanity and have sought to consolidate their efforts to fighting the bad changes via the Paris Climate Agreement, sadly, the US under Donald Trump, has sought to leave the international pact.
Many President Barack Obama era environmental protections to fighting Climate Change in America have been rolled back under Trump. And if the current wildfire and air pollution devastations in the western US are an omen of further Climate Change events, then there must be greater actions to protecting the environment in order to safeguard the future of all of humanity.