Sen. Kamala Harris, VP Mike Pence spar on climate change, California wildfires during Wednesday's debate

"We have seen a pattern with this administration which is they don't believe in science," Sen. Kamala Harris said.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (KGO) -- Climate change and the West Coast's deadly wildfires were a topic of discussion at Wednesday night's Vice Presidential Debate between Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris, the incumbent saying both he and Donald Trump believe forest management needs to be "front and center."

"With regard to wildfires, President Trump and I believe that forest management has to be front and center, and even Gov. Gavin Newsom from your state has agreed, we have to work on forest management," Pence said.

Nearly 60 percent of California's forests are on federal land and more than 4 million acres of land has burned in the state this year alone, with two months left of fire season.

RELATED: Record-breaking California wildfires surpass 4 million acres burned

When asked during the debate whether man-made climate change has worsened wildfires and hurricanes in the U.S., Pence brought up the Trump Administration's record on the environment.

"Our air and land are cleaner than any time ever recorded and our water is among the cleanest in the world," the vice president said.

In her rebuttal, the California senator reiterated candidate Joe Biden believes in science, something the president has publicly questioned.

"We have seen a pattern with this administration which is they don't believe in science," Harris said.

VIDEO: Pence pushes Green New Deal while answering about record-setting wildfires and hurricanes
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This year we've seen record-setting wildfires and hurricanes, when the discussion of climate change surrounding that came up, here's what Vice President Mike Pence said.



Just last month during a visit to California, Trump said "I don't think science knows, actually," in reference to how climate change is affecting the state's now-annual wildfires.

Harris made reference to that statement by the president during Wednesday's debate.

"So let's talk about who is prepared to lead our country over the next four years on what is an existential threat to us as human beings," Sen. Harris said.

California's devastating wildfires were also mentioned by Trump during last week's presidential debate.

RELATED: 'Headache inducing': SF woman whose father died of COVID-19 describes attending debate as Biden's guest

"You know, at some point, you can't, every year, have hundreds of thousands of acres of land just burned to the ground," Trump said Sept. 29.

This comes after the president previously stated the state should simply "clean" their "floors" to handle wildfires.

"And I see again, the forest fires are starting," Trump said Aug. 20 at an event in Pennsylvania. "They're starting again in California. And I said, you've got to clean your floors. You've got to clean your floors."

At that time, the president blamed the "years" of leaves and broken trees for the fires.

Later in the debate, moderator Susan Page asked, "Senator Harris just said that climate change is an existential threat. Vice President Pence, do you believe that climate change poses an existential threat?"

"The climate is changing. We'll follow the science," Pence said before shifting the conversation toward taxes.

Watch more of Wednesday's Vice Presidential Debate in the media player above.


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