West Coast authorities have reported that at least 23 people have died in forest fires in California, Oregon and Washington state as more than 500,000 Oregonians have died in 100 major fires that devastated nearly 4.4 million acres in 12 states , are forced to evacuate.
Wildfire in Northern California became the deadliest of the year on Thursday, as authorities announced seven more deaths. Officials said the number could rise as seekers searched for 16 missing people.
Three other deaths have been confirmed in Oregon and one in Washington state, authorities said.
Oregon authorities said Thursday night that more than 500,000 people across the state were forced to evacuate due to forest fires. The latest figures are from the Oregon Office of Emergency Management. That's over 10 percent of the state's 4.2 million residents.
More than 1,400 square miles burned in the state this week. Authorities say forest fire activity was particularly acute on Thursday afternoon in northwest Oregon as the hot, windy conditions persisted.
In California, Butte County Sheriff's MPs and detectives found seven bodies Thursday, a day after three more victims were discovered. Among the strangers are Sandy Butler and her husband who called their son to say they would try to escape the flames by taking shelter in a pond.
"We still hope and pray for good news," said Jessica Fallon, who has two children with the butler's grandson and regards them as her own grandparents. "Everything is interchangeable, but not my grandparents' lives." I'd rather lose everything than these two. They kind of kept the family together. & # 39;
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Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday as smog from the forest fires shield the sun on the horizon
West Coast authorities have reported that at least 23 people were killed in forest fires in California, Oregon and Washington state. This aerial photo shows a RV park in Phoenix, Oregon that was destroyed by fire
Hundreds of homes in Phoenix, Oregon (mobile home park pictured) have been lost due to forest fires in the state
Oregon residents evacuate along Highway Highway 213 near Oregon City, Oregon on Wednesday. By Thursday evening, more than 500,000 Oregonians – 10 percent of the state's population – had been evacuated
More than 14,000 firefighters are fighting 28 fires across California, according to the Department of Fires and Forestry Protection. An exhausted Cal Fire crew took a break in the grass next to Berry Creek Elementary School, which was destroyed during the overnight bear fire Wednesday
A bird bath is seen in front of the charred remains of a house after the passage of the Santiam Fire in Gates, Oregon, Thursday
A fire ravaged neighborhood in Talent, Oregon, as a forest fire ravages the area Thursday
More bodies could be found if the crews manage to penetrate into devastated areas. A team of anthropologists from Chico State University helped find it, said Sheriff's Captain Derek Bell.
The week-old fire was about 50 percent contained when the winds drove it into explosive growth on Tuesday, driving it through rugged Sierra Nevada foothills and destroying much of the town of Berry Creek.
More than 2,000 homes and other buildings had burned in the lightning-fast mass of fires known today as the North Complex, which burned about 125 miles northeast of San Francisco.
Forecasters said there was good news on the weather front: winds were expected to stay weaker in the fire area this week, while thick smoke should actually lower the temperature slightly and keep the humidity a little higher.
The fire is among the five this year to break records for the most land ever burned, including a fire that broke the mark on Thursday as the biggest ever.
More than 4,800 square miles have been burned so far this year – more land than Rhode Island, Delaware, and Washington, DC combined – and fall is usually the worst season for fires. Nineteen people were killed and nearly 4,000 buildings burned down across the state.
People fleeing northern California forest fires gather at a temporary evacuation point in Homeland, California on Thursday
A fire hazard warning is posted on a street in Estacada, Oregon. Multiple forest fires grew hundreds of thousands of acres Thursday and resulted in large-scale evacuations across the state
Arizona Mormon Hot Shots members laid the hose line in rough terrain on Highway 39 near Crystal Lake in front of the Bobcat Fire that set fire to more than 23,000 acres Thursday
Firefighters are working Thursday to put out a fire near Leaburg, Oregon. A lack of resources has hampered the fight against the Holiday Farm Fire
Oregon firefighters extinguished embers in Mill City, Oregon on Thursday as they battled the Santiam fire
An orange, smoke-filled sky is visible over Molalla, Oregon on Thursday while fires burn nearby
The fires, fed by the drought-stricken vegetation at the warming temperatures caused by climate change, have spread at an alarming rate, giving people less time to escape.
Hundreds of campers, hikers, and people who spent Labor Day weekend at mountain reservoirs and retreats had to be evacuated by military helicopters when they were stranded while being taped by a fast moving fire that broke out in the Sierra National Forest in central the state -setting high temperatures.
President Donald Trump spoke to Gov Gavin Newsom on Thursday "to express his condolences for the loss of life and to reiterate the government's full support to help those on the front lines of the fires," said White House spokesman Judd Deere .
The fire in the north complex is the tenth largest on the record books and is growing as firefighters try to prevent it from advancing towards the town of Paradise, where the most devastating fire in the state's history killed 85 people and destroyed 19,000 buildings two years ago.
Authorities lifted an evacuation warning for Paradise Thursday, a day after residents woke to skies similar to those of the morning of 2018 when a windswept inferno devastated the city.
Under red skies and falling ashes on Wednesday, many decided to flee again and block the main road outside the city in another iteration of the disaster two years ago. About 20,000 people in three counties were under evacuation orders or warnings about the fire.
Flames lick over vehicles on Highway 162 while the bear fire burns in Oroville, California on Wednesday night. The fire, which was part of the lightning-fast northern complex, spread at a critical rate as the winds carried the region
Flames consume a home and car while the bear fire burns through the Berry Creek area of Butte County, California on Wednesday
Flames shoot out of a window as the bear fire burns through the Berry Creek area of Butte County, California on Wednesday
In this photo by Frederic Larson, the Golden Gate Bridge can be seen in San Francisco on Wednesday morning at 11 a.m., amid a smoky orange tone caused by the ongoing forest fires
The Bobcat Fire consumed a forest in the Angeles National Forest north of Monrovia, California on Thursday
Around 14,000 firefighters continued to attempt to fight 29 major forest fires from the Oregon border to north of Mexico, despite California being almost entirely devoid of critical fire weather warnings after days of hot, dry conditions and the risk of high winds.
Smoke billowed in vineyards in the wine country north of San Francisco and rose over picturesque Big Sur on the Central Coast and in the foothills and mountains of counties Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego in the southern part of the state.
Fires continued to burn in Washington and Oregon, and on Thursday morning, thick smoke covered much of the west coast and darkened the skies with dangerous air pollution.
Washington state authorities announced the arrest of a second person for deliberately starting a bushfire in Pierce County.
State forces said a witness saw the man set grass on fire with a match near State Route 512 and State Route 7 and called the police. After a brief chase, soldiers arrested the person.
The most recent arrest follows that of a 36-year-old Puyallup man who was taken into custody for allegedly starting a large bushfire that temporarily shut down State Route 167 and several ramps near Meridian Avenue.
In Oregon, a fire along the Oregon border destroyed 150 homes near Happy Camp Township and one person was confirmed dead, the Siskiyou County Sheriff's Office said. About 400 other houses were threatened.
The fire that blazed in the hamlet of Berry Creek with 525 residents burned countless houses and largely destroyed Camp Okizu, a summer vacation for children with cancer.
A crew fighting the fire was overwhelmed by flames when the wind shifted and its members escaped with only minor injuries after using shelters. It was the second time in two days that California firefighters had to make the rare final effort to save their lives.
Fallon, who drove out of the San Francisco Bay Area after hearing the Butlers went missing Wednesday morning, waited with her young son and 2-year-old daughter with dozens of evacuees visiting a fairground in the small town Gridley had gathered and in the morning were shivering cold.
A burned car stands in a clearing on Wednesday after the bear fire in Butte County, California
A handcrew is working to save a house amid the bear fire burns through the Berry Creek area of Butte County, California on Wednesday
A handcrew clears the vegetation around a barn as the bear fire burns through the Berry Creek area of Butte County, California on Wednesday
Among them was Douglas Johnsrude, who packed up his eight dogs and fled his home in Feather Falls Ward on Tuesday.
Johnsrude said he assumed his trailer was burned, which would be the second time he had lost his home in a fire. He inherited his mother's house after her death, but it was destroyed in a fire in 2017.
“The reason I didn't rebuild up there is because I knew it was going to happen again. And guess what? It happened again, ”he said. “To see the smoke and the flames and everything else is unreal. It's like an apocalypse or something. & # 39;
Butte County spokeswoman Amy Travis described the evacuation center as a place to stay while officials set up hotel rooms for families displaced by the fire amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID has changed the way we seek shelter," she said. "We don't have many hotel rooms here in Butte County, and a lot of them are definitely busy with people who have already made their own hotel evacuation arrangements."
Fallon said she riddled hospitals with phone calls looking for her grandparents.
Your daughter Ava doesn't understand what's going on. She thinks they are camping. The girl usually speaks to her great-grandmother two to three times a day.
& # 39; I throw and turn around. I'm just so scared. I'm just very worried about my grandparents, ”Fallon said. "I hope they are sitting in some water up there waiting to be rescued."
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