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

President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida 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 LevinJudicial interference and the coming constitutional crisis Dwayne Johnson touts surge in Instagram followers after his Biden endorsement: 'Always speak your truth' Ted Cruz hits Fox's Wallace for 'train wreck' debate, pitches new idea for moderators MORE about his recent meeting with Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin NewsomCalifornia plans to review coronavirus vaccine independently OVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA may violate courts with new rule extending life of unlined coal ash ponds | Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires | Climate change, national security among topics for final Trump-Biden debate Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires 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.