"The state's climate appears to be changing," Brown said in an interview on ABC's "This Week." "The scientists tell us that definitely. So we've got to gear up here. And after all, in California for 10,000 years our population was about 300,000. Now it's 38 million. We have more structures, more activity, more sparks, more combustible activity and we've got to gear up for it and as the climate changes, this is going to be a radically different future than was our historic past."
Brown's remarks came as firefighters battle fires in San Diego County, where Brown declared a state of emergency last week. The Democratic governor has made climate change a focus of his administration, and he has used the state's dramatic blazes to illustrate concerns about the environment.
According to state fire officials, 1,108 wildfires burned more than 2,500 acres in California from Jan. 1 through late April, an increase over the 697 fires and 1,793 acres burned in the same period last year.
"As we send billions and billions of tons of heat-trapping gases, we get heat and we get fires and we get what we're seeing," Brown said. "So we've got to gear up. We're going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we're just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can."
PHOTO: Gov. Jerry Brown speaks to reporters at a news conference at the Capitol on Sept. 9, 2013. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua