Fires Burn 3.1 Million Acres in California
September 10, 2020
Wildfires fueled by extreme heat and high wind spread further across California, Oregon and Washington on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes and killing at least seven people.
Fires have burned through a record of at least 3.1 million acres in California, causing significantly worse destruction than last year's devastating season.
The blazes have also destroyed entire communities in Oregon, including Detroit in Marion County; Blue River and Vida in Lane County; and Phoenix and Talent in Jackson County. Fires also largely decimated the eastern Washington town of Malden over the weekend.
"This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history," said Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. "We are not getting any relief from the weather conditions. Winds continue to feed these fires and push them into our towns and cities."
In Northern California, the major Bear Fire filled the skies with smoke and turned them an eerie dark yellow-orange, while the Creek Fire worsened in the Sierra National Forest. Three people were killed in the growing North Complex Fire in Northern California.
The fires are becoming worse with forceful winds and heat. Climate change has triggered hotter temperatures and dry conditions that have sparked enormous wildfires in the fire-prone Western states.
State and local officials are concerned that some people were unable to flee their homes that were burned down.
"We also fear that this is not going to be the only folks we'll find deceased up there," Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said Wednesday.
Thousands of people in the Western states have had to evacuate their homes and don't know when they'll be able to return. As rescue efforts continue, the death toll from the fires is expected to rise over the next few days.