Obama attributes western U.S. wildfires to climate change

One of the Expedition 40 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station recorded this July 19 image of wildfires which are plaguing the Northwest and causing widespread destruction. NASA

SEATTLE – President Barack Obama says a wildfire that has burned nearly 400 square miles in the north-central part of Washington state, along with blazes in other Western areas, can be attributed to climate change.

Obama, speaking at a fundraiser Tuesday, offered federal help to deal with Washington’s wildfire, the largest in the state’s history.

WATCH: Washington state is dealing with the largest forest fire in its history. Robin Gill reports.

He said Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Craig Fugate had authorized an emergency declaration to ensure electrical power.

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Obama has asked Congress for $615 million in emergency spending to fight Western wildfires. He said spending on such fires has increased over the years.

He says, “A lot of it has to do with drought, a lot of it has to do with changing precipitation patterns and a lot of that has to do with climate change.”

READ MORE: B.C. residents still under evacuation alerts and orders due to wildfires

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