According to a press release from the Department of the Interior, forest fires in California this year released 68 million tons of carbon dioxide, roughly the same amount of carbon emissions typically produced to power the entire state for a year.
"We know that wildfires can be deadly and cost billions of dollars, but this analysis from the U.S. Geological Survey also shows just how bad catastrophic fires are for the environment and for the public's health," Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in the statement.
The statement also noted the carbon emissions from the wildfires accounted for 15 percent of all California emissions. November's wildfires alone- which included the deadliest and most destructive fires in the state's history- released 5.5 million tons of carbon dioxide.
Zinke also pointed to improper forest management as a major attribution to the wildfires. This is not the first time Zinke has cast doubt on climate change reports and is questioning the methods used by the 300 government and non-government scientists who contributed to the report.
The U.S. Geological Survey report predicts that wildfires will continue to grow larger, more costly and more deadly as temperatures rise and the climate becomes drier due to human-caused climate change.
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