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California and Nevada governors urge federal wildfire aid

As dozens of wildfires rage in the West, the governors of California and Nevada are touring their state lines to get a firsthand look at the devastation.

Flames and smoke from the Dixie Fire are making firefighting efforts difficult. And there are concerns that strong winds and high temperatures could worsen the blaze. 

As California's largest wildfire has grown, it's burned more than 200,000 acres, leaving behind destruction and displacing more than 16,000 people from their homes.

On Wednesday, Governors Gavin Newsom of California and Steve Sisolak of Nevada toured the damage caused by the devastating Tamarack Fire, which crossed over into Nevada from California. They pleaded for more help from the federal government — and spoke with CBS News exclusively.

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Governors Steve Sisolak of Nevada and Gavin Newsom of California speak with CBS News in an exclusive interview on Wednesday, July 28, 2021. CBS News

"It just can't happen soon enough because the consequences of what we're all experiencing all across the western United States," Newsom told CBS News.

"These fires do not recognize state borders," Sisolak said. "They jump across highways. That's just the way it goes. And we need to have the resources."

There are more than 80 active wildfires raging across 12 states. They have burned 1.6 million acres and are intensified by a severe drought and extreme heat tied to climate change. In Oregon, the Bootleg Fire alone has burned more than 400,000 acres.

Sisolak said "more resources" are needed in the firefight.

"We're being overwhelmed with the wildfires that are coming this way. A lot of them are on federal lands and we need more resources. We need more boots on the ground in terms of the firefighters," he said.

"This summer's already come sooner than even our worst case predictions six months ago," Newsom said. "Climate change is real. The hots are much hotter than they've ever been. And we're seeing with these droughts, the dries are much drier as well."

In California alone, Newsom said nearly a half a million acres have burned so far this year. That is four times the amount at the same time last year — and even that was a record-breaking year.

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