Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris described the wildfires ravaging the western United States as "utterly predictable" as she traveled to California on Tuesday. Photo by U.S. Forest Service-Pacific Northwest Region | License Photo
Sept. 15 (UPI) -- Democratic vice presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris returned to California on Tuesday as wildfires burn across her home state and much of the Western United States.
Harris, D-Calif., made her first trip to California since being nominated as former Vice President Joe Biden's running mate. She and California Gov. Gavin Newsom met with emergency officials as wildfires have burned more than 3.2 million acres in the state.
"Sadly, these wildfires and the devastation they cause are utterly predictable," she said.
Harris joined Newsom and the governors of Oregon and Washington, which have also been hit hard by the wildfires in citing climate change as a major factor in causing the deadly blazes.
She added that climate change "is not a partisan issue" after President Donald Trump questioned the science behind climate change and cited forest management as a primary concern.
"It is incumbent on us, in terms of leadership of our nation, to take seriously the extreme changes in our climate and to do what we can to mitigate against the damage," she said.
At least 34 people have died in the wildfires as of Tuesday. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported 25 deaths, including 15 in the North Complex fire, five in the LNU Lightning Complex, two in the Slater fire one in the CZU Lightning Complex, one in the August Complex and one in the Hills fire.
The August Complex, the largest blaze in California's history, burned 794,801 acres in Tehama County and was 30% contained Tuesday and the North Complex burned 269,218 acres at 39% containment, Cal Fire said.
Additionally, the 396,624-acre SCU Lightning Complex was 98% contained while the LNU Lightning Complex was 97% contained after burning 363,220 acres.
In Oregon, the death toll was lowered from 10 to eight after two sets of remains in Jackson County believed to be human were identified as animals. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management said that 50 people were unaccounted for, including 22 who have been designated as missing.
Oregon's largest blaze, the Riverside fire, remained 0% contained as it burned 134,575 acres, while the Powerline fire, Chehalem-Bald Peak Fire and Almeda fire were all 100% contained.
A 1-year-old child remained the only death in Washington as about 30 wildfires have burned more than 807,000 acres in the state.
Gov. Jay Inslee said that air quality in the state has reached "historically polluted" levels.
"Our air quality, I know, is oppressive and it remains unhealthy at best and hazardous at worst," he said.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Air Quality Index was ranked as "hazardous" for cities in Portland, Ore., Seattle and Spokane, Wash., and Vancouver, ranking the worst in the world on Monday.