Firefighters are desperately trying to contain dozens of wildfires that are burning across California, Oregon, and Washington. The fires have left a trail of ash and destruction, torching hundreds of homes and leaving at least seven people dead as of Thursday (September 10) morning.
In Oregon, firefighters are batting 35 wildfires, which have continued to grow due to high winds and warm air, and now encompass more than 500 square miles. The fires have killed two people - a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother - and Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said he expects the death toll will grow in the coming days.
"This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history," Oregon Governor Kate Brown said.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency as "catastrophic" fires burned through the state. Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate as the Sumner Grade Fire threatened their homes. The fire has burned more than 800 acres and is only 20% contained. The Cold Springs Fire killed a one-year-old child and left his parents hospitalized with severe burns.
In California, at least three people died as the North Complex fires destroyed thousands of buildings in Butte County. Over 14,000 firefighters are on the front lines battling 28 different fires across the state, which have burned more than 2.5 million acres since the start of the fire season. The National Forest Service ordered ten national forests to close due to the "unprecedented and historic fire conditions throughout the state."
"The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic," said Regional Forester Randy Moore. "I ask all Californians and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety."
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