There, its governor, Kate Brown, said hundreds of homes had been destroyed and the devastation could become overwhelming.
“This could be the greatest loss of life and property due to fires in the history of our state, “the governor of Oregon told reporters, calling the fires” unprecedented “.
Three prisons were also evacuated on Tuesday evening.
Firefighters were struggling to try to contain the blazes and authorities in some places were giving residents a few minutes to evacuate their homes.
“It was like driving through hell,” Jody Evans told local television station NewsChannel21 after a midnight evacuation from Detroit, about 50 miles west of Oregon’s capital Salem.
The fires trapped firefighters and some residents and razed an entire small town in eastern Washington.
Winds of up to 75 mph have helped stoke dozens of fires across Washington state and Oregon that rarely experience such intense flames due to the cool and humid climate of the Pacific Northwest.
Sheriff’s deputies, traveling with chainsaws in their patrol cars to cut down fallen trees blocking roads, have been door-to-door in rural communities 40 miles south of Portland, telling people to leave.
Since Tuesday, no less than 16,000 people have been asked to abandon their homes.
“These winds are so amazing and are spreading so fast that we don’t have a lot of time,” Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said.
In Washington state, Governor Jay Inslee said more than 330,000 acres (133,546 hectares) had burned in 24 hours.
A 12-year-old boy and his grandmother died in a forest fire near the community of Santiam Valley in Lyon, about 80 km south of Portland, according to KOIN News.
The blaze was also believed to have caused at least one death outside of Ashland, said Rich Tyler, spokesperson for the Oregon State Fire Marshal.
A one-year-old boy was also killed and his parents severely burned while fleeing a fire in Okanogan County, Washington, police said.
Hundreds of miles away in northern California, the remains of three people were found in two separate locations, Sheriff Kory Honea said, bringing the total death toll from the wave of wildfires in this area. been in the state at least 11.
One of the victims was found in a car, apparently trying to flee the fires, California Highway Patrol officer Ben Draper told reporters.
About 64,000 people were asked to leave their properties as teams battled 28 major fires there.
About a third of those evacuees have been moved to Butte County alone, north of Sacramento, where a wildfire has burned more than 200,000 acres since it began last month.
Hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and other buildings were reportedly damaged or destroyed by the blaze northeast of San Francisco, fire officials said.
The blaze also threatened Paradise, a town devastated just two years ago by the deadliest blaze in state history which caused a traffic jam as panicked residents attempted to escape.
Heavy smoke suffocated much of the state and threw an eerie orange tint across the sky on Wednesday.
Daniel Swain, a climatologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, conservatively estimated that the fire had burned about 400 square miles in 24 hours.
“The incredible rates of spread currently seen in these fires – this is unprecedented in history,” he tweeted.
The US Forest Service, which took the unprecedented step of shutting down eight national forests in southern California earlier in the week, ordered all 18 state forests to close for public safety.
California set a record with nearly 2.5 million acres burned already this year, and historically the worst of the wildfire season doesn’t start until the fall.