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CBS News Poll: Californians Are Concerned About Climate Change After Extreme Summer Weather

FOLSOM (CBS13) - As Californians stagger through another summer of extreme weather, A CBS News poll finds that less than half of residents who weighed in say they feel the impact of climate change.

"My humble little home is where my heart is," said Troy Dunker, speaking with CBS13 about his hometown of Chester in Plumas County.

He's taking care of neighboring homes and animals as the wildfire continues to tear through town.

"It's just black, our home is gone. We grew up in these woods, and it's gone, it's black," he said.

Even with flames coming a quarter mile from his property, and mandatory evacuations in place, he plans on staying put.

"I'm not going anywhere," he said.

He, like, many who have lived through this, are worried about what's next. He's concerned about drought and wildfire which seems to be getting earlier every year.

"When these fires take off, there's nothing to slow it down really," he said.

A CBS news poll found 68 percent of Californians feel they're at a high risk for drought and 55 percent feel they're at high risk for wildfires. Forty-six percent feel the impact of climate change.

At Folsom Lake, long-time Californians say it's something they notice​.

"It has been hotter lately, and more dry," said Dave from Woodland.

But it's not something they know what to do about.

"I'm concerned just like anybody," he said.

We asked environmental policy expert Dr. Mark Schwartz, from UC Davis, how climate change is related to this extreme summer weather.

"We're seeing more and more extreme weather in a variety of forms; our droughts are deeper and more frequent and our heatwaves are coming with higher frequency and are stronger."

Dr. Schwartz says if you look at the Dixie fire, the second-largest fire in state history, it's also the earliest we've seen this kind of catastrophic damage during fire season. He says it's likely linked to last winter's drought, and therefore linked to climate change.

"I'm sure that a lot of people feel secure from wildfire than should feel more secure from wildfire," he said.

Experts say California has had about a half degree of warming over the last century.

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