Burned cities, hundreds of thousands of evacuees, dozens of victims: terrible fires continue in the western United States
Californians compare the apocalyptic orange skies in the San Francisco Bay Area to disaster movie scenes, while Los Angeles suffers from its worst smog in 26 years and its air quality has plummeted to the worst in the world as forest fires continue to spread across the West Coast, already killing at least 23 people, writes The Daily Mail.
Nearly 100 major wildfires continue to rage across 12 states, devastating nearly 4,4 million acres (1 ha) of land and destroying thousands of homes in their path.
The states of California, Oregon and Washington were hit hardest: More than 500 Oregonians - 10% of the population - were forced to evacuate after 1400 square miles (3626 square kilometers) were burned statewide in the last week alone, resulting in a major city Portland has declared an emergency.
In Northern California, the North Complex fire, which destroyed a foothill village, is the deadliest in the state, killing 10 people, and the death toll could rise as emergency teams desperately search for 16 missing persons.
Four more deaths have been confirmed in Oregon and one in Washington state.
Areas that have not yet been hit by fires are now gripped by dangerously low air quality, with San Francisco covered in thick smog and now the worst air quality in the world on par with Dubai's.
The sky over the bay and the Golden Gate Bridge has acquired a fiery orange hue, and ash is reported to have fallen from the sky. This week, social media users likened the scene seen in California to footage from the science fiction movie Blade Runner 2049, set in 2049 in Las Vegas.
Although some critics called these scenes unreal, they noted on social networks that the picture reflected in the film turned out to be more real than anyone expected.
The sky turned orange due to a combination of wildfire smoke with clouds and fog that block sunlight.
Air quality in the region deteriorated sharply by Thursday 10 September. The most dangerous air pollution for the respiratory tract was observed in San Francisco and Oakland (the Golden Gate Bridge was almost obscured by an orange haze), as well as in Sonoma County.
The IQAir system, which measures air quality worldwide, found that San Francisco ranks with Dubai as the city with the worst air quality in the world with an index of 167 parts per billion, which is considered “very unhealthy” and well above the federal standard of 70 parts per billion.
In rural areas such as Yosemite National Park, pollution levels rose to 400 ppb, according to the LA Times.
At noon Sunday, September 6, downtown Los Angeles pollution rose to 185 ppb, the highest in Southern California since 2003 and the highest in the city in 26 years.
JUST IN: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥
A flare-up in part of the North Complex #Fire in #NorthernCalifornia prompts emergency #evacuations overnight in Butte County, according to the US #Forest Service. pic.twitter.com/g6jUgYqRoG
- Jeremy Song (@ tezuma75) September 9, 2020
Oregon authorities said more than 500 people across the state were forced to evacuate due to wildfires. The latest figures from the Oregon Emergency Management Administration show that more than 000% of the state's 10 million population have been saved from deadly fires. More than 4,2 square miles have burned down in the state this week.
At least four people died, including a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother, who were found dead with their dog after trying to escape the Santiam fire in Marion County.
Gov. Keith Brown said more Oregon residents have died, but the exact number is not yet known.
- Christine Pitawanich (@CPitawanichKGW) September 8, 2020
On Thursday, September 10, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler declared a state of emergency, closing public parks and places, placing homeless people in the city, and opening evacuation shelters for displaced residents in the state's largest city.
Officials have warned the city lacks emergency resources after many brigades have been called in to fight fires in other parts of the state.
The Almeda fire in Oregon, which killed two people, is now being investigated as a potential arson attack after a body was found near the start of the fire. The police consider the circumstances of the fire to be “suspicious”. Investigators are investigating the possible connection between the fire and the death of this unidentified person.
OREGON: a family flees near Detroit Lake. A seriously frightening & fiery experience while also showcasing the bravery of fire departments
- ELIJAH RIOT (@ElijahSchaffer) September 9, 2020
The fire began on Tuesday, September 8, in Ashland and then spread to more than 3000 acres (1214 ha) and destroyed 600 homes in the surrounding areas. This comes after the National Weather Service (NWS) found that a staggering 87% of all wildfires (36 of 383) that ravaged America this year were caused by humans. As a result, 41 acres (599 hectares) of the territory burned down.
California was hit hardest by man-made fires, with 10 as of September 7072th. Texas came in second with 4170, followed by North Carolina from 1889, Florida from 1779 and Arizona with 1552 fires.
In Oregon, rumors spread that wildfires in the state were deliberately initiated by extremist political groups. There are unfounded reports on social media that the arson attacks were orchestrated by the far-left group Antifa and the far-right group Proud Boys. Officials denied the reports and urged residents not to believe rumors spread by unofficial sources.
In Northern California, the North Complex fire is the deadliest in the state, with 10 deaths confirmed. Butte County sheriff's deputies and detectives found seven bodies Thursday, the day after three more victims were found.
Among the missing are Sandy Butler and her husband, who called their son to say they were going to try to escape the fire by taking refuge in a pond.
“We still hope and pray for good news,” said Jessica Fallon, who has two children with Butler's grandson and considers the Butlers to be her grandparents. - Everything is replaceable, but not the lives of my grandparents. I'd rather lose everything than these two. ”
Authorities said the fire spread more slowly on Friday, September 11, after the wind died down and smoke from the fire had shaded the area and lowered temperatures, allowing firefighters to make progress. As crews manage to make their way into the devastated areas, they may find more bodies.
In total, more than 4800 square miles have been burned this year - more land than Rhode Island, Delaware and Washington, DC combined - and fall tends to be the worst season for wildfires.
19 people died and nearly 4000 buildings burned down across the state of California.
On Thursday, September 10, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the devastating wildfires that have hit her home state.
“Mother Earth is furious,” Pelosi said. "She tells us - whether it's hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West ... that the climate crisis is real and has consequences."
“Mother Earth is angry,” Speaker Pelosi says, discussing wildfires burning in California. “She's telling us with hurricanes on the Gulf Coast, fires in the West, whatever it is… the climate crisis is real and has an impact.” pic.twitter.com/ulY4Vwh7AC
- MSNBC (@MSNBC) September 11, 2020
Pelosi later said climate policy should be an "absolute priority" in the upcoming elections to prevent more deadly fires ravaging the country.
Fires caused by drought vegetation amid climate-related warming have spread at an alarming rate, leaving people with less time to flee.
Hundreds of campers, hikers, and Labor Day weekends in mountain reservoirs and shelters had to be evacuated by military helicopters when they were trapped by a booming fire that erupted in the Sierra National Forest in the center of the state during the record high heat wave. ...
Watch the frightening moment this camper in California was surrounded by fire and had to be rescued by helicopter pic.twitter.com/WcyIQhGv7c
- NowThis (@nowthisnews) September 10, 2020
According to White House spokesman Judd Deere, President Donald Trump spoke with Governor Gavin Newsom to "express condolences over the loss of life and reaffirm the administration's full support for helping those on the front lines of the fight against fires."
The North Complex fire is ranked 10th on the record books and is on the rise as firefighters try to prevent its advance towards the city of Paradise, where the most devastating fire in state history killed 85 people and destroyed 19 buildings two years ago.
Authorities canceled an evacuation warning for Paradise on September 10, the day after residents woke up and saw a sky similar to the morning of 2018 when a fiery hell turned the city into ruins.
Under red skies and falling ash, many decided to flee again, blocking the main road from the city in a dire repetition of the disaster two years ago. About 20 people received evacuation or warning orders in three districts.
The deadly blaze near Sacramento is now “the largest fire in California history,” per @CraigMelvin... It has already taken 12 lives.
Climate change is killing Americans right now. Trump's silence on this issue is unforgivable. pic.twitter.com/d1vD92a3YG
- CAP Action (@CAPAction) September 11, 2020
About 14 firefighters continued to try to contain 000 major wildfires from the Oregon border to northern Mexico, although California had few critical fire warnings after days of hot, dry conditions and the threat of high winds.
Smoke rose over vineyards in the wine district north of San Francisco, over picturesque Big Sur on the central coast, and in the foothills and mountains of Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties in the southern part of the state.
Numerous fires continued to burn in Washington DC and Oregon, and thick smoke covered much of the West Coast.
Washington State officials announced the arrest of a second person for deliberately setting fire to bushes in Pierce County. State servicemen said a witness saw a man set fire to bushes with a match near the highway and called the police. After a short chase, the suspect was arrested.
Prior to this, a 36-year-old man was arrested for allegedly starting a large fire that temporarily blocked Highway 167 and several exits near Meridian Avenue.
In Oregon, a fire raging along the state line destroyed 150 homes near Happy Camp, and one person was confirmed dead, according to the Siskue County Sheriff's Office. About 400 more houses were under threat.
A fire that engulfed the village of Berry Creek in Butte County, California, with a population of 525, burned numerous homes and largely destroyed Okizu, a summer camp for children with cancer.
Here's the video of them on DVIDS.
Evacuees from the Creek fire exit from a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the California National Guard's 40th Combat Aviation Brigade after landing safely last night at the 1106 Theater Aviation Sustainment Maintenance Group. 200 people. pic.twitter.com/lhCbAEZTOU
- Kaitain 🇺🇸 (@Kaitain_US) September 10, 2020
The fire brigade was engulfed in flames when the wind changed, and its members escaped with minor injuries after the deployment of emergency shelters. It was the second time in two days that firefighters in California had to make a dangerous attempt to save their lives.
- Jonathan Baran né Hall (@JHBaran) September 9, 2020
Jessica Fallon said she bombarded hospitals with phone calls looking for her grandparents.
“I can't sleep and I'm very worried about my grandparents,” she said. "I hope they're sitting up there in the water, waiting to be rescued."
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