President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is considering using all options to quash wildfires in parts of California and New York, including a massive wildfire suppression effort in the desert.
“I will be looking at the options,” Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One as he left California on a trip to Arizona and New Mexico.
“I’ll be looking.
I’ll be talking to all the governors, all the sheriffs, all of the county and city and state officials.
And we’ll see what the best way is.
But, we’re going to do it.””
The only thing I can think of is putting all the firefighting teams out in the mountains, put them in the valleys, and then if there’s a threat of wildfires, if there is a threat to our air quality, if it’s something that has to be dealt with.
And I’m not saying we can’t do it,” Trump said.
“We have to, but we can do it in a very controlled way.
And if we can control the flames, we have a much better chance of getting them under control.””
We have a lot of air pollution in the air, and it’s a great tragedy,” he added.
“But we’re also doing a lot more to control the air pollution that is out there.”
Trump is set to depart California and the state’s capital city of San Francisco later Tuesday morning, a day after declaring a state of emergency in both states amid a raging wildfire.
Trump is scheduled to fly to San Francisco on Wednesday morning for an event in the city’s famed Mission Bay area.
Trump was expected to make a brief stop in Los Angeles to visit with firefighters battling wildfires, but his trip was canceled as of early Tuesday afternoon due to the raging fires.
Trump, who has spent the past several days trying to calm tensions in the U.S. by saying he is working to find a way to get the fires under control, said he’s looking at “all the options.”
The president’s remarks came after a fiery rally Tuesday night in Phoenix where he blamed “a lot of people” for the fires, including Democratic Sen. Jeff Flake, who was a top Republican target for the 2018 midterm elections.
Trump said Flake, a former congressman and the Arizona Republican who served in the Senate, should “step down.”
The fire is burning in the Mojave Desert and has charred more than 10,000 acres (5,000 hectares) and damaged more than 80 homes and businesses, including two churches.
Trump also warned that if the fire doesn’t get under control quickly, it could destroy the Mojaves’ iconic and iconic natural beauty.
The president said he had spoken with Flake by phone.
Trump has previously blamed the fires on drought conditions and blamed President Barack Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency for not doing enough to control them.
The fires have forced the closure of at least two nearby coal-fired power plants.
They are in the middle of a long, hot and dry summer in California.
Trump has also threatened to withdraw federal assistance to the California power industry if the fires aren’t quelled quickly.
Trump tweeted Wednesday that the White House has been in contact with “all states that are in danger” and urged them to cooperate with the federal government.
The White House said it will continue to monitor the situation closely and “do everything we can” to protect lives and property.
The Department of Interior said the agency is coordinating with state, tribal, local and federal officials to respond to the situation.