Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on the Ongoing Wildfires

As devastating wildfires continue to rage across California, Oregon, Washington, and throughout the West, Jill and I are keeping everyone affected by this disaster in our prayers. To the families who have lost everything; to the people forced to evacuate their homes; to the brave firefighters and first responders risking their lives to protect their neighbors — please know that we stand with you now, and that we will continue to stand with you for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild from this tragedy. Our thoughts are also with the millions of Americans living just outside the path of these fires, forced into an awful choice between relocating in the midst of an ongoing pandemic or staying put in a place where every breath they draw forces them to inhale smoke.

The science is clear, and deadly signs like these are unmistakable — climate change poses an imminent, existential threat to our way of life. President Trump can try to deny that reality, but the facts are undeniable. We absolutely must act now to avoid a future defined by an unending barrage of tragedies like the one American families are enduring across the West today.

Left unchecked, wildfires and other extreme weather disasters will only continue to grow in frequency and intensity, endangering the lives of tens of millions of Americans, ravaging our lands and waterways, rendering the air unbreathable, and laying waste to our economic security. In the years ahead, there will be no challenge more consequential to our future than meeting and defeating the onrushing climate crisis.

The American people have never shrunk from a challenge, and I have complete faith that we will rise to overcome the threat of climate change. We can, and we must, come together to build a better future — so that all American children can breathe clean air and drink clean water, so that we can create good jobs and revive our middle class, and so that families can once again live their lives free from the mounting disasters brought on by climate change. In the meantime, Jill and I urge everyone in the path of the wildfires to stay safe and heed the warnings of local officials as our courageous firefighters and first responders work to put an end to the destruction.