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Oregon senator says Trump's blame on 'forest management' for wildfires is 'just a big and devastating lie'

Sen. Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan Merkley Senate Democrats call for ramped up Capitol coronavirus testing The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by The Air Line Pilots Association - Trump, Biden renew push for Latino support Sunday shows - Trump team defends coronavirus response MORE (D-Ore.) said Sunday that President TrumpDonald John TrumpObama slams Trump in Miami: 'Florida Man wouldn't even do this stuff' Trump makes his case in North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin Pence's chief of staff tests positive for COVID-19 MORE blaming “forest management” for wildfires is “just a big and devastating lie.”

Merkley told ABC’s “This Week” that he disagreed with the president’s comments Saturday night attributing the fires to being primarily “about forest management.”

“The president has said it's all about raking the forest,” the senator said. “It's just a -- a big and devastating lie.” 

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“The Cascade snowpacks have gotten smaller,” he added. “Our forests have gotten drier. Our ocean has gotten warmer and more acidic. And this has been happening steadily over the last several decades.”

The Oregon Democrat called for a president who would “follow the science on global warming.”

“America not only has to get its own act in order,” he said. “It has to help lead the world to take this on. This is a planetary-scale tragedy of the commons that we need leadership to end.”

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Merkley said the wildfires in his state are “apocalyptic,” adding he couldn’t escape the smoke when driving “600 miles up and down the state.” Thousands of people have lost their homes, and small towns have been “incinerated,” he said. 

The western coast states of California, Oregon and Washington are dealing with spreading wildfires that are sparking quick evacuations. 

Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOn The Trail: A third coronavirus wave builds just before Election Day Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein Pandemic politics dominate competitive governor's races MORE (D) told ABC’s “This Week” that the states in the West “have a blowtorch” over them “which is climate change.” He called it “maddening” that Trump denies climate change contributed to the fires.  

“We know that climate change is making fires start easier, spread faster and intensify,” the governor said. “And it is maddening right now that, when we have this cosmic challenge to our communities, with the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires.”

Inslee called viewers to “vote on climate,” saying “if this is not a signal to the United States, I don't know what it will take.”