NBC: Firefighters Battling California Wildfires Are On 'Front Lines of Climate Change'

Not wanting to let a good crisis go to waste, Tuesday's NBC Nightly News exploited California wildfires to push climate change. Correspondent Miguel Almaguer declared: "The fire season not just expensive, but historic. Nationwide so far this year, more than 32,000 wildfires have burned. 1.6 million acres charred, most of them in the west. Feeding the fires, drought crippling 60% of the west....Crews call this the front lines of climate change, a longer more destructive fire season." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Introducing the story, anchor Brian Williams warned: "In the American west tonight, a huge wildfire is burning in Yosemite National Park. One of more than 200 of them firing up in just this last week in California alone as this drought emergency continues to get worse."

NBC has a long history of blaming climate change for wildfires:

NBC Cites ‘Global Warming’ As Possible Cause of Colorado Wildfires

NBC Blames Wildfires on 'Climate Change,' Then Accuses McCain of Using 'Tragedy for a Political Purpose'

Without Proof, NBC Presumes Global Warming to Blame for Wild Fires

In June, the Media Research Center's Business and Media Institute pointed out that the facts actually show recent decline in wildfire activity.


Here is a full transcript of Almaguer's July 29 report:

7:12 AM ET

BRIAN WILLIAMS: In the American west tonight, a huge wildfire is burning in Yosemite National Park. One of more than 200 of them firing up in just this last week in California alone as this drought emergency continues to get worse. In some places, the firefight is now a year-round event. It's costing a ton of money, say nothing of the exhausting and dangerous work in the heat. We get our report tonight from NBC's Miguel Almaguer at Yosemite.

MIGUEL ALMAGUER: Tonight, a view of Yosemite no one wanted to see. Half Dome safe from flames but shrouded in smoke. This out-of-control blaze exploded on the edge of the forest over the weekend.

SHELLY CROOK [STANISLAUS NATIONAL FOREST]: There is a lot of fuel available for this fire. And the fire, because of the heavier fuels, they're holding heat a lot longer.

ALMAGUER: Tonight, most of California is a tinder box. 216 wildfires scorched the state just last week. The cost to fight wildfires here could top a record $1 billion this year. An example, a DC-10 hits fires as hard as the budget. One drop of retardant, $60,000.

STEVE KLIEST [CA INTERAGENCY MANAGEMENT TEAM]: Yes, it is an expensive proposition. But when you balance out against the loss of homes or the loss of life, it seems a whole lot less.

ALMAGUER: The fire season not just expensive, but historic. Nationwide so far this year, more than 32,000 wildfires have burned. 1.6 million acres charred, most of them in the west. Feeding the fires, drought crippling 60% of the west, intensifying across the region, creating what's called mega-fires. Burning faster, hotter, and more explosive than ever before. Crews call this the front lines of climate change, a longer more destructive fire season.

KEN PIMLOTT [CAL FIRE]: We have the potential for year-round fire activity now anywhere in the state.

ALMAGUER: Tonight, firefighters call this the mean season. But the most dangerous months for wildfires are still ahead.

The view here may not be picture perfect, but behind the smoke, crews are making progress. This blaze, at 3,000 acres, is roughly 20% contained. And firefighters tell us tonight the worst of the damage may be behind them. Brian.

WILLIAMS: Miguel Almaguer at Yosemite for us tonight. Miguel, thanks.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC