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Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better

President TrumpDonald TrumpSacha Baron Cohen calls out 'danger of lies, hate and conspiracies' in Golden Globes speech Sorkin uses Abbie Hoffman quote to condemn Capitol violence: Democracy is 'something you do' Ex-Trump aide Pierson planning run for Congress MORE dismissed evidence pointed to by California's governor of climate change's role in the state's continuing wildfires during a Fox News interview on Sunday, blaming the problem once again on poor management of state forests.

The president spoke during the interview with radio host Mark LevinMark Reed LevinTrump to appear on conservative networks in wake of Limbaugh's death Rush Limbaugh dead at 70 Limbaugh falsely says Biden didn't win legitimately while reacting to inauguration MORE about his recent meeting with Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Newsom'SNL' envisions Fauci as game show host, giving winners vaccines More states follow California's lead on vehicle emissions standards On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors MORE (D), with whom Trump said he has a disagreement over the cause of California's record-setting wildfires.

"Honestly, he's been very nice with the words which is good," Trump said of Newsom. "But I said you've got to manage this. It's a management thing. He said, 'no, it's global warming.' I said, 'when the leaves build up and you have a floor of leaves and the trees fall down and you don't remove them because the environmentalists don't want you to touch the tree, within 18 months that tree becomes like a matchstick.' "

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"I meet with foreign leaders of countries, and they have an expression, 'Sir, we are a forest nation.' But they say, 'we have trees that are far more explosive than the trees in California. We don't understand how a thing like that can happen.' You have to manage your forest," Trump continued.

The president went on during the interview to attack California over its water management policies, which he blamed on efforts to protect the delta smelt, an endangered fish native to the region, which his administration has rolled back efforts to protect.

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California has been the site of record-setting wildfires for months, with one fire known as the August Complex currently less than half contained and already the largest fire recorded in state history.

Evacuation orders are affecting residents across three states as fires burn as far north as Washington and as far south as Los Angeles County.

Trump has a history of deflecting links between the wildfires and rising average temperatures in California as well as dry weather conditions that scientists say are exacerbated by climate change; he has for years insisted that wildfires could be avoided with greater debris management efforts by state officials.