(WASHINGTON) -- In comments made over the weekend, Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, blamed illegal immigrants for the wildfires that have raged across his state of Arizona.
"There is substantial evidence that some of these fires have been caused by people who have crossed our border illegally," McCain said Saturday at a press conference. "The answer to that part of the problem is to get a secure border."
The Senator from Arizona’s comments set off a wildfire of their own, as the Wallow fire blazes across his state across 500,000 miles.
A forest service spokesman on the Wallow fire in Arizona says there's no evidence that this specific fire was caused by immigrants.
"There's no evidence that I'm aware, no evidence that's been public, indicating such a thing," said Tom Berglund, spokesman for the federal group managing the Wallow fire.
Latino groups are angered at McCain for "fanning the flames of intolerance."
McCain’s office pushed back on Monday, emphasizing that the Senator said “some” wildfires are started this way – not all, and that he was speaking about other fires, not the Wallow fire.
“The facts are clear. For years, federal, state and local officials have stated that smugglers and illegal immigrants have caused fires on our southern border,” Brooke Buchanan, communications director for McCain said in a statement. “During the press conference on Saturday, Senator McCain was referring to fires on the Arizona/Mexico border, not the Wallow Fire.”
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