WATCH: Gov. Newsom Speaks As 'Historic' Wildfire Season Rages Across California
Gov. Gavin Newsom is holding a press briefing to discuss the state's response as 25 major wildfires burn across California, including the Bobcat and El Dorado fires in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.You can read highlights below or watch the full press conference video above.
California Governor Gavin Newsom began his Tuesday press briefing with a startling statistic.
So far in 2020, there have been 7,606 wildfires in the state and roughly 2.3 million acres burned, compared to just under 5,000 fires and 118,000 acres burned in 2019.
That speaks to the "historic" nature of this year's fire activity, Newsom said, calling it "the largest fire season we've had in terms of total acreage impacted" — and noting that we're still in the early months of the state's typical fire season.
Eight people have been killed in fires this year and more than 3,400 structures have been destroyed, he added.
Newsom mentioned the El Dorado Fire, which broke out in the Yucaipa on Saturday and has burned more than 10,500 acres. Fire officials say that blaze was sparked by a firework from a gender reveal party.
"It's a reminder that the vast majority of fires that we experience on an annual basis come from individuals making bad decisions or by simple neglect and accident," Newsom said.
The governor also took a moment to note the links between our "almost normalized" extreme fire seasons, record-breaking heat waves and the reality of climate change on display throughout the Golden State. He also had a message for those who don't share that view.
"I quite literally have no patience for climate change deniers... You may not believe it intellectually, but your own eyes, your own experiences, tell a different story — particularly out here in the West Coast of the United States, and particularly here in the state of California."
LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
There were 2,767 new COVID-19 cases yesterday, with a seven-day average of 4,302 new cases per day. That's with about 110,000 tests conducted per day over the past week, Newsom said.
The 14-day COVID-19 positivity rate in California is down to 4.3%, while the 7-day positivity rate is at 3.8%.
Hospitalizations and ICU admissions for COVID-19 are each down 24% and 21%, respectively, over the past two weeks.
Five counties across the state, including Orange County, have been assigned new status in the state's tiered system of recovery, downgraded from the purple tier (the most severe) to the red tier (the second-most severe). Los Angeles remains in the purple tier, signifying widespread transmission of the coronavirus.
Newsom said some progress has been made in recent weeks, but noted one major "point of caution": We're just coming off a three-day holiday weekend, and those "have not been advantageous" for slowing the spread of COVID-19. The state recorded spikes of infections following the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holiday weekends.
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