Death toll rises as wildfires ravage US West Coast

Facebook removing posts linking Oregon blazes to extremist groups

Spreading wildfires have claimed at least 25 lives in three US West Coast states and are affecting part of Canada.

Blazes in California, Oregon and Washington state have burned nearly 2m hectares (5m acres) of land and killed at least 35 people since early August.

At least 10 people have been killed in Oregon. Officials have said dozens of people are missing and warned that the death toll could rise. Twenty-two people have died in California since early August, and one person has been killed in Washington state.

Search-and-rescue teams, with dogs in tow, were deployed across the blackened ruins of southern OR towns on Sunday as smoldering wildfires still ravaged U.S. Pacific Coast states after causing widespread destruction.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said about 500,000 acres typically burn each year, but just in the past week, flames have swallowed over a million acres, pointing to long-term drought and recent wild weather swings in the state.

Crews in Jackson County, Ore., were hoping to venture into rural areas where the Alameda Fire has abated slightly with slowing winds, sending up thick plumes of smoke as the embers burned. From Medford through the neighbouring communities of Phoenix and Talent, an apocalyptic scene of charred residential subdivisions and trailer parks stretched for miles along Highway 99.

This weekend emergency services managed to tame some of the bushfires as brutally hot weather and strong winds began to ease.

Still, emergency officials anxious that the shifting weather might not be enough to quell the fires.

In California, almost 17,000 firefighters were battling 29 major wildfires, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire). Improving weather conditions had helped them gain a measure of containment over most of the blazes.


By Monday morning, more than 3.3 million acres have been burned in the Golden State this year - more than 27 times more than in 2019, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Most of the fatalities have occurred in California and OR, with emergency services in the two states recording 26 deaths.

While the smoke has made it hard to breathe, it did help firefighters somewhat this weekend by blocking the sun, creating cooler weather, Vigliotti reported.

Smoke and ash have reached the Canadian province of British Columbia, shrouding the city of Vancouver in haze on Saturday.

In Portland, residents stuffed towels under door jambs to keep smoke out or wore N95 masks in their own homes.

In the state of Washington firefighters continue to tackle 15 large wildfires.

In a statement released Saturday, Biden expressed his support for those suffering from the effects of the fires, as well as the firefighters and first responders on the front lines of the emergency, while also blasting Trump for "deny [ing]. reality" on climate change's role in the ongoing crisis.

Joe Biden, Mr Trump's Democratic opponent, launched a scathing attack over Mr Trump's response to the blazes during a speech Monday, warning that the country's "hellish" wildfires would become more deadly if Mr Trump was handed a second term and branding the president a "climate arsonist".

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