Wildfires rage in California, state spends $3.7 bn a year fighting fires

Wildfire Update: Positive News in Oregon's Fight Against Fires Across the State

"There was no fighting this fire", Sykes said. Clark County entered hazardous air-quality territory late Thursday as wildfire smoke traveling from other areas enveloped Southwest Washington. Authorities said more than 500,000 people - more than 10% of the state's population - have been forced to evacuate.

More than half a million people - 12% of the state's population - have fled from their homes in OR and mass evacuations are underway across the region. The state's emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, said officials are "preparing for a mass fatality event" and thousands of structures have been destroyed. OR hasn't released an official count of the deaths.

The remains of 10 victims have been found in separate locations of that fire zone, according to a spokesman for the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

Oregon, Washington and California are enduring a wildfire season of historic proportions, with the firefighting effort compounded by the coronavirus pandemic and misinformation online.

By evening, two of Oregon's largest fires, burning around 24 miles southeast of downtown Portland, had merged, leading to a major expansion of evacuations in densely populated Clackamas County, emergency management spokeswoman Bobbi Doan said.

Governor Brown told a news conference that more than 500,000 people were under one of three evacuation alert levels, advising them to pack and be vigilant, to be ready to flee at a moment's notice, or to leave immediately. Oregon's governor said Thursday that dozens may be missing in her state.

Nearly 500 personnel were working on the fires near Portland, which were just a few miles (kilometers) apart, with rugged terrain between them that limits boots-on-the-ground efforts to control the flames, Myers said. Since then, it has grown to over 746,000 acres after merging with other large fires nearby.

Climate change amplifies droughts which dry out regions, creating ideal conditions for wildfires to spread out of control and inflict huge material and environmental damage.

"This is not an act of God", Inslee said.


Even as the weather forecast offered hope, Newsom painted a grim picture of California as the canary in the climate-change coal mine.

At least four OR police departments warned of "fake" online messages appearing to be from law enforcement that blamed left-wing anti-fascists and right-wing Proud Boy activists for starting the fires.

Beatriz Gomez Bolanos, 41, told her four children to close their eyes as fires burned on both sides of their auto as they made their escape from the Bear Creek Mobile Home south of Medford as sparks began to rain down on their house.

While California, he said, was investing in green technology and regulating vehicle emissions, the fires ravaging the entire West Coast were a grim preview of what the rest of the country may soon face if policies and priorities did not change nationally.

Sickler said authorities were working to locate missing people.

"I'm a little bit exhausted that we have to continue to debate this issue", he said in televised comments as he toured the damage.

Evacuation centers were open across Oregon.

To his west, the August Complex fire - which this week became the largest in the state's history - had now burned across 747,000 acres, Newsom said.

The site was also housing hundreds of animals - dogs, llamas, horses, pigs weighing hundreds of pounds, cows and chickens. "It would be worse than Paradise if there were that many people living there". "He's not eating as normal, he knows something is going on".

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