At least 35 people are confirmed to be dead as wildfires continue to burn their way through the West Coast. This number includes 24 deaths in California, 10 in Oregon, and one in the state of Washington. Firefighters do not see any relief in sight as the forecast continues to call for dry conditions and high winds in parts of the region.
The Latest in California: The epicenter of the West Coast wildfires remains in the Golden State. Here is the status of a few of the state’s largest fires.Read More »
- Creek Fire – Located just northeast of Shaver Lake in the Sierra National Forest, this fire has already consumed more than 212,000 acres. The blaze is only 10% contained as firefighters continue to grapple with the rough terrain and weather conditions.
- North Complex Fire – This massive fire, encompassing both the Bear and Claremont fires, has ravaged over 264,000 acres in the Plumas National Forest of Northern California. At least 14 people have died as a result of this fire. The North Complex Fire is 38% contained.
- Bobcat Fire – This fire in Los Angeles County just north of Durate is only 6% contained after already burning over 36,000 acres. Evacuations of some residents are currently taking place as the blaze continues to grow in size and scope.
- Slater and Devil Fires – These fires are burning five miles North of Happy Camp in the Klamath National Forest. The combined inferno has burned over 130,000 acres, claimed at least two lives, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of people.
The Latest in Oregon: Oregon continues to experience issues controlling the fires. As of mid-day Monday, there are over 30 active fires in the state. These fires are responsible for the loss of over 900,000 acres. Just south of Portland, the Beachie Creek fire has consumed nearly 200,000 acres while taking four lives. This blaze continues to burn uncontrolled, forcing thousands of residents out of their homes. The Holiday Farm Fire, just east of Eugene, Oregon, has destroyed over 160,000 acres in the Willamette National Forest. The town of Vida on the McKenzie River has been shut down as a result of the spreading flames.
The Latest in Washington: According to state officials, nearly 800,000 acres have been burned in Washington since the fires erupted early last week. This marks an area over two-thirds the size of what burned during the record-setting 2015 wildfire season. The Babb-Malden/Manning fire is located northwest of Rosalia in Whitman County. This fire has exploded to 18,000 acres and is not at all contained. The blaze is responsible for destroying a majority of the town of Malden, including 121 homes and 94 additional structures.
The Pearl Hill fire in Okanogan County is now over 223,000 acres. While 50 homes and structures have been destroyed, the good news is that officials say that the blaze is now 80% contained. Just south of the town of Omak, the Cold Springs fire has destroyed nearly 190,000 acres and multiple structures. The fire also claimed the life of a one-year-old boy who was caught up in the flames while fleeing the area. This fire is now roughly 50% contained.
Trump Visits California: US President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit California on Monday to address the rapidly deteriorating situation. The president will visit McClellan Park to meet with both local and federal fire and emergency officials. While in the area, Trump is also scheduled to meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom. The visit comes after Trump had remained largely silent about the fires last week.
Blaming Climate Change: Leaders in both California and Oregon came out over the weekend to put the blame on climate change for the historic wildfire season. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown was emphatic in her assertion that climate change combined with the mismanagement of the country’s forests are both responsible for the fires that are burning out of control across a wide swath of the region. Newsom also responded to Trump’s assertion that poor land management was the root of the fires by putting the blame on climate change instead.
In addition, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti responded on Sunday by agreeing that the increasing amounts of carbon emissions are contributing to the fires. Global scientists are not at all surprised by the veracity of the current wildfires, pointing to the fact that they have warned of this possibility for years.
Air Quality Continues to Cause Problems: One of the most harrowing effects of the fires is the rapid deterioration in air quality. Residents up and down the West Coast have been forced indoors because of the hazardous air. Millions of people have been affected by this dangerous air in numerous major cities. The metropolitan areas of Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle are all currently experiencing harmful levels of pollution. Health experts recommend checking the Air Quality Index for your area before spending time outdoors.
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