Search for survivors as wildfires rage in 3 western US states including Oregon, California

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Teams were due to resume on Sunday the search for the dead among blackened ruins left by massive wildfires raging in three states in the western United States, where millions of acres burned in weeks and incidents of “Mass deaths” are feared in Oregon.A wave of wildfires across California, Oregon and Washington state destroyed thousands of homes and half a dozen small towns this summer, burning a landscape the size of New Jersey and killing people in less 26 people since the beginning of August.

After four days of brutally hot and windy weather, the weekend brought calmer winds blowing inland from the Pacific Ocean and cooler, wetter conditions that helped the crews progress against the fires that had burned uncontrollably earlier in the week.

In Oregon, Governor Kate Brown called the perilous fires “a once-in-a-generation event,” and Oregon Emergency Management Office director Andrew Phelps said authorities were preparing for the outbreak. possibility of “mass mortality” incidents.

“There are going to be a number of deaths, people who just couldn’t be notified in time and who couldn’t evacuate their homes and get to safety,” Phelps told MSNBC on Friday.

WATCH | The scale of forest fires is linked to climate change, says one scientist:

Climate change is contributing to the scale and intensity of wildfires on the West Coast, says climatologist Peter Gleick. 4:37

At least six people have been killed this week in Oregon, state officials say. Brown said dozens of people were still missing in three counties.

Twenty-seven fires still raged across 1.47 million acres (594,000 hectares) in Oregon and Washington on Saturday, the Bureau of Land Management said on Twitter.

In southern Oregon, an apocalyptic scene of charred residential subdivisions and trailer parks stretched for miles along Highway 99 south of Medford through the neighboring communities of Phoenix and Talent.

Active wildfires in Washington, Oregon and California on September 13, 2020 (CBC)

Trump will visit California

In California, tens of thousands of firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires on Saturday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Improving weather conditions had helped them achieve containment action on most of the fires.

The White House said US President Donald Trump, a Republican, will meet with federal and California officials on Monday. Trump said Western governors were partly responsible for the intense fire seasons in recent years, accusing them of poor forest management.

His Democratic opponent in the November election, Joe Biden, on Saturday linked the fires to climate change, echoing comments made a day earlier by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Heavy smoke and ash from the fires have darkened the skies of the Pacific Northwest since Labor Day, creating some of the worst air quality levels in the world and pushing residents inside.

More than 4,000 homes and other structures have been cremated in California alone in the past three weeks.

Firefighters ignite a controlled burn along the Nacimiento-Fergusson Highway to help contain the Dolan blaze near Big Sur, California on Friday. Tens of thousands of firefighters were battling 28 large forest fires on Saturday afternoon. (Nic Coury / The Associated Press)

In Portland, Oregon, where more than 100 days of political protests have become increasingly tense in recent weeks, the Multnomah County Sheriff berated residents for setting up their own checkpoints to stop cars after conspiracy theories have spread on social media that members of Black Lives Matter or Antifa were lighting fires. Local officials called the claims unfounded.

Facebook said on Saturday it was now suppressing false claims that the Oregon wildfires were started by certain groups.

“This is based on confirmation from law enforcement that these rumors are forcing local fire and police departments to divert resources from firefighting and public protection,” a spokesperson said. from Facebook.

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