Massive wildfires in California, Washington, and Oregon kill 15
A series of wildfires in Oregon, California and Washington have killed 15 and left communities in ashes, CNN reports.
On Friday morning, firefighters discovered at least 11 victims in California and a total of four others in Washington state and Oregon.
In Oregon, at least three people were killed in fires. The state's southern cities of Phoenix and Talent were especially hard hit and authorities fear they'll find even more bodies as they gain access to additional neighborhoods that have been ravaged by flames.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency Thursday night and activated evacuation sites for people in threatened areas.
Today, I issued a City of Portland Emergency Order due to the extreme wildfire conditions threatening lives and property, including wildfire threats to the City of Portland and the greater Portland Metropolitan area. Please stay informed and stay safe. https://t.co/D8JAQQmxWf— Mayor Ted Wheeler (@tedwheeler) September 11, 2020
More than 80,000 Oregon residents have evacuated from their homes, and with thirty-seven wildfires still active in the state, that number is expected to grow.
The blazes have swept through about 900,000 acres in Oregon, according to the governor's office.
We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state. Currently there are fires burning more than 900,000 acres. To put that into perspective, over the last 10 years, an average of 500,000 acres burn in an entire year. We’ve seen nearly double that in 3 days.— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 10, 2020
In California, 14,000 firefighters continue to battle 29 major wildfires across the state. The August Complex fire in northern California is currently the largest blaze in the state. It's scorched more than 471,000 acres since it was sparked by lightning in August.
On Thursday, authorities found seven bodies in Northern California, raising the total number of victims in the state to 10.
The state's Governor, Gavin Newsom, has pointed to climate change as a primary factor in the wildfires.
"Wildfires are a big part of the seasonal challenge," Newsom said. "The challenge we're facing now is the extreme fire events that we believe are climate induced."
Washington state, meanwhile, continues to battle 16 wildfires that have torn through nearly 600,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. A 1-year-old boy was killed and his parents were badly burned as they tried to escape the wildfire in Washington, officials say.
CNN reports that the family was visiting their property in a rural area west of Spokane and evacuate in the middle of the night when the wildfire got closer. They abandoned their vehicle and ran to a river to escape the menacing flames. The couple was rescued from the river but their son did not make it.
"The enormity of these fires, the geographical scope, the intensity, and the destruction are unequal in Washington State history," Gov. Jay Inslee said.
Washingtonians impacted by wildfires need help right now.— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) September 10, 2020
I issued a proclamation this afternoon that will provide them with some cash assistance for immediate needs. https://t.co/IB8KzS1Y91
The California Community Foundation has created a wildfire relief fund that is accepting online donations toward relief efforts. Click here for more information on donating.