Governor of California Jerry Brown on the Recent Fires

As California residents face an unprecedented disaster, in an exclusive interview, Christiane Amanpour speaks to Gov. Jerry Brown about the worst fires in California history.

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BROWN: All right. Well let’s — we should know one historical fact, for over 10,000 years California could only support about 300,000 people. Today, we have over 40 million. And with that 40 million, we have a lot of technology, obviously, much of it allowing us to be here but a lot of it by way of emissions of carbon exacerbating the problem. So, that’s one thing. So, and then the second thing is where are people going? There are not native peoples moving from the mountains to the sea and back again depending upon the time of the year. People are getting very fixed in fixed dwellings all over the place. So, yes, we need to look at our planning, we need to revise it but you’re talking about the entire state, you’re talking about modern civilization. We’re in a world — we’re in a configuration that may not be, and certainly in some respects, is not compatible with the natural environment by way of fires, winds and the topography of the way the state is constituted.

AMANPOUR: Which kind of begs the question, so what happens in the future? I mean, we read that at one point they campfire, the so-called campfire was burning fast enough to consume one football pitch every second. I mean, I think Americans can understand that size and that speed. BROWN: Well, I don’t think we understood it as well as we do today. We learn. Hopefully, really learn from what has happened. And yes, there are real dangers. But also, we have the threat of massive earthquake. The prediction in California is over 50 percent, some say 60 percent of the likelihood of a massive catastrophic earthquake, and there are millions of people living in areas that could be affected by that. So, there’s a lot of hazard here. We live in this — in a world of modern world where we think it’s comfort and prosperity and security, but the truth of the matter is we’re highly vulnerable in this state as your in New York and in Great Britain and other places. So, we sometimes with the modern world and all the conveniences and the instant coffee and grocery stores make it look that we’re out of the woods as it were, well, we’re not, we’re embedded in a very fragile or dangerous and sometimes very hostile environment.

About This Episode EXPAND

Christiane Amanpour speaks with Governor of California Jerry Brown, Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad, and actress and writer Abbi Jacobson. Walter Isaacson speaks with founder and Executive Director of Code for America Jennifer Pahlka.