Joe Biden on Monday called President Trump a "climate arsonist" and warned that another four years of Trump's policies would expose suburbs to more deadly wildfires.

Why it matters: Biden's speech addressing the record-setting wildfires in the West sought to cast Trump — who rejects consensus climate science — as a threat to the safety and livelihoods of people nationwide, rather than just an environmental issue.

  • His remarks on the suburbs in particular show how Biden is trying to politically flip the script on Trump, who has suggested that looting and rioting in some cities will drive suburban voters to embrace his law and order message.

What they're saying: "Donald Trump's climate denial may not have caused these fires and record floods and record hurricanes, but if he gets a second term, these hellish events will continue to become more common, more devastating, and more deadly," Biden said.

  • "Meanwhile, Donald Trump warns that integration is threatening our suburbs. That's ridiculous. You know what is actually threatening our suburbs? Wildfires are burning the suburbs of the west. Floods are wiping out suburban neighborhoods in the midwest," he added.
  • "Hurricanes are imperiling suburban life along our coast. If we have four more years of Trump's climate denial, how many suburbs will be burned in wildfires? How many suburban neighborhoods will have been flooded out? How many suburbs will have been blown away in superstorms?"

The bottom line: "He fails the most basic duty to a nation. He fails to protect us from the pandemic, from an economic free fall, from racial unrest, from the ravages of climate change — it's clear that we're not safe in Donald Trump's America," Biden argued.

Where it stands: Biden's remarks come on the same day that President Trump is meeting with officials in California to discuss the fires.

  • Trump, who does not endorse the scientific consensus on human-induced global warming, has not linked the fires to climate change.
  • The president has repeatedly zeroed in on forestry practices, and at a rally in Nevada Saturday said the blazes engulfing Western states are "about forest management, and other things."

The big picture: The remarks come amid record-setting and deadly wildfires in Western states that are also creating serious air quality problems.

  • In California, fires have already burned over 3.3 million acres this year, an area larger than the state of Connecticut, according the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
  • Six of the 20 largest fires — and three of the top five in records that date back to the 1930s — have occurred this year, including the largest ever, called the August Complex fire.

Threat level: Scientists say climate change is contributing to Western wildfires thanks to hotter and drier conditions. For instance, an August paper in Environmental Research Letters found that the frequency of autumn days in California with "extreme fire weather" conditions has doubled since the 1980s.

Quick take: The western disaster and Biden's focus on the wildfires is raising the profile of climate change as the race enters its final phases, even though the states hardest hit by fires — California, Oregon and Washington — are not up for grabs.

  • But Biden's remarks addressed other extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods that are affecting people in states in multiple regions of the country.
  • He also used the speech to promote his plans to greatly bolster investments in climate-friendly energy and infrastructure and said it would be a major job creator.

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What to watch in tonight's debate

Joe Biden (left) and President Trump (right) are facing off in Cleveland for the first presidential debate. Photos: Alex Wong (of Biden) and David Hume Kennerly (of Trump)/Getty Images

President Trump will try to break Joe Biden's composure by going after his son Hunter and other family members in tonight's first presidential debate — a campaign source tells Axios "nothing will be off the table" — while Biden plans to stick to the economy, coronavirus and new revelations about how Trump avoided paying taxes.

Driving the news: Biden and Trump are set to debate at 9pm ET at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, and it will be moderated by Fox News' Chris Wallace.

Sep 29, 2020 - Science

3 dead and thousands evacuated as Northern California fires explode

A building at the Meadowood Napa Valley luxury resort burns after the Glass Fire moved St. Helena, California, on Monday. Photo: by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Three people have died in a wildfire in Northern California and tens of thousands were evacuated across the state, as firefighters contended with strong winds and dry conditions that saw blazes explode across the state on Monday.

Driving the news: Shasta County Sheriff Eric Magrini confirmed the deaths occurred as the Zogg Fire spread across 15,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of 1,200 people. More than 5o,000 people were under evacuation orderds, per AP.

Debate dashboard: Catch up fast

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images