WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says wildfires in the western U.S. are getting worse in large part due to climate change.
Obama says there's been a consistent escalation in the severity and length of the wildfire season. He says much of that is because of global warming causing higher temperatures and diminished water resources.
The president says the country should be thinking throughout the summer about the firefighters battling "some really tough fires" in western states. He says he's trying to work with Congress to properly fund firefighting and conservation planning to decrease risks.
Drought-stricken California has been grappling with 23 fires, including one that's destroyed 43 homes.
Obama spoke in the Oval Office as he signed a bill setting aside hundreds of thousands of acres (hectares) of wilderness in Idaho.