2. SOUNDBITE (English) Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior:
"The temperatures are rising. The seasons are getting longer. But we have to look at managing the forests. When you talk to firefighters out there, when you talked to Cal Fire they'll tell you the same thing. There's too much dead and dying timber. The density of trees is historic. You have lack of public access. So we've closed a lot of roads, we've let roads over overgrown. So even when if a lightning strike or manmade a fire occurs we can't get at it."
3. Wide of Secretary Zinke and press
4. SOUNDBITE (English) Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior:
(REPORTER) Do you except that climate change is part of the problem?
Zinke: "Of Course. Of Course."
5. Wide of Secretary Ryan Zinke
6. SOUNDBITE (English) Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior:
"No one loves public land more than I do and everyone wants a healthy forest but to watch this year after year catastrophic forest fires burn. This isn't the new norm. You know it can be managed. But some people would like that you know they don't have a problem with watching habitat burn down. And yet the only endangered species happens to be a logger. So we need to go back to best science, best practices, greatest good, longest term."
7. Wide of Secretary Ryan Zinke
8.SOUNDBITE (English) Ryan Zinke, Secretary of Interior:
"This is not a political issue. This is a management issue and we're going to actively manage our forest so we don't have this. So we can the public can actually enjoy their lands and we can make sure we restore habitat where catastrophic fires should not be the new norm."
U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke Thursday admits that climate change has a connection to the catastrophic wildfires that have plagued California.
He said "of course," when a reporter asked if climate change was part of the intensity and expansion of the fires.
His admission is a change in tone from the position the secretary voiced days ago when he told a California TV Station that the wildfires have ' nothing to do with climate change."
Zinke was in Northern California to survey damage from the deadly Carr Fire, which has burned more than 200,000 acres, destroyed more than 1,000 homes and killed three firefighters.
In an interview with KCRA Zinke said "I've heard the climate change argument back and forth. "This has nothing to do with climate change. This has to do with active forest management."
Zinke said that California's forests are too dense and he wants to remove dead and dying trees before they become fuel for wildfires.
While Zinke has been stating to many that climate change has nothing to do with the wildfires, scientist say the warmer temperatures do have a connection to the wildfires.
An AP analysis finds a clear connection between warmer temperatures out west and more land by wildfires.
Since the 1980s, the amount of land burned by wildfires in the US has more than doubled and scientists and data show warmer years also are when fires burn worst.
Scientists say this is man-made climate change in action, pointing to the physics of fire.
Fire needs ignition, oxygen and fuel.
Warmer, drier weather is turbo charging the fuel for fires.
Contrary to fire scientists who have studied the issue, Secretary Zinke this week told Breitbart radio that "what's driving" increased wildfires is an increase in the amount of fuel, saying the government has "been held hostage by environmental terrorist groups" that prevent clearing dead trees.
He did however acknowledge longer fire seasons and hotter conditions.