Wildfires have now claimed 25 lives in California, Oregon and Washington

Sunday, 13 Sep, 2020

The state's emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, said officials are "preparing for a mass fatality event" and that thousands of structures have been destroyed.

More than 500,000 people have already been evacuated, a number representing about 10% of the state's population.

Numerous state's dead and missing were in the area ravaged by the North Complex fire, which had burned 252,313 acres across Butte, Yuba and Plumas counties and was 21% contained as of Saturday morning. The investigating officers, however, said that arrest was different from the Almeda fire, the most destructive blaze in state that has been linked with at least two death and destruction of hundreds of home in Phoenix and Talent towns.

Fires have been raging in California, Oregon and Washington for three weeks.

Back in OR, evacuation centres were open across the state. To prevent the virus from spreading behind bars, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation began releasing prisoners on July 1 who had 180 days or fewer left on their sentences - including inmates participating in the conservation camp program. Spokeswoman Vanessa Vanderzee said it took 20 hours to transfer the inmates Thursday to another prison in a safe zone.

And while firefighters have made significant progress around the state, Grafe said that an estimated eight large fires across OR "will be with us until the winter rains come".

Asked whether Portland's metro areas might be evacuated, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz Temple said everything would depend on wind direction and force.

The apocalyptic conditions in California - from the fires to orange daytime skies and hazardous air - are caused by man-made climate change, Newsom said.

San Bernardino National Forest spokesperson Lee Beyer said fire crews working in steep, rugged and sometimes heavily timbered terrain.

Nearly 500 personnel were working on the fires, which were just a few miles (kilometers) apart, with rugged terrain between them that limits boots-on-the-ground efforts to keep them apart, Myers said.

The fires are some of the largest in California and OR history, the AP reported, and experts say increasingly dry conditions linked to climate change have contributed to the intensity and spread of the blazes.

Hundreds of thousands of acres are now burning in more than 100 fires in 13 western states, but areas of Northern California and OR have seen unprecedented and catastrophic damage this week.

Authorities have said more than 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers) have burned in OR during recent days, almost double the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island.

A 12th person died in Siskiyou County in far northern California, state fire authority CalFire reported, providing no further details.

A donation drop-off and pick-up station set up by volunteers is seen at an evacuation site in Happy Valley, Oregon, on Friday.

Kim Carbaugh fled her home Monday in Lyons with her husband, two children and two horses. Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland declared a state of emergency Thursday night, and residents of Molalla, about 30 miles to the south, packed highways as they fled from the approaching fires. A police auto rolled through the streets with a loudspeaker blaring "evacuate now".

Searchers found two victims of the so-called Beachie Creek fire near Salem. Millions of acres have burned, with homes and towns destroyed, as well as loss of life. "We must get serious about providing pathways for those that show the determination to turn their lives around".

A day after a delegation of OR lawmakers sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking for disaster assistance, he approved the state's emergency declaration.

In southern OR, police arrested a 42-year-old man on Friday for starting a fire in the town of Phoenix, the Jackson County Sheriff's office said.

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.

Police are still investigating the first ignition point in Ashland.

Firefighters from all over the country were called to call to help in putting out the fires.

Numerous residents were immigrants, with few resources to draw on. "It's not easy but it's not impossible either", said Guterrez.

The governor noted that thousands of prisoners are on the frontlines battling historic fires burning across California, calling their contribution to suppressing the flames "heroic" and "demonstrable".

She pointed to the Democrats' "Moving Forward" green infrastructure package, which would require states to account for climate change before undertaking projects and meet certain greenhouse gas emission goals when they accept funding. "What we're experiencing right here is coming to communities all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change, unless we disabuse ourselves of all the BS that's been spewed by a very small group of people".