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Ducey Says He Doesn't Think Wildfires Linked To Climate Change, Calls For Forest Thinning

Gov. Doug Ducey says Arizona forests have dodged a bullet this summer, especially compared to the extreme damage in California from wildfires.

However, he called for better federal management of forests, including more money for forest thinning.

“I am concerned that some of the policies around forest health and management are combining to allow ... these wildfires to burn hotter and faster and longer than they have in the past,” Ducey said.

When asked if he agrees with scientists that link worsening wildfires to climate change, Ducey said, “I think that’s a complete unknown.” 

“What is known,” he continued, “is that our forests haven’t been properly managed and we haven’t used our resources. That’s something we can act on today and a difference that can be made.”

His statements contradict the prevailing scientific consensus on the subject. For example, a study from a non-profit research group found that the warming climate is triggering larger fires in Arizona, and has extended the fire season by 100 days since 1970.

Claire Caulfield was a reporter and Morning Edition producer at KJZZ from 2015 to 2019.