Fires of rare violence, stretching from the state of Washington, bordering Canada, to San Diego, Southern California, killed six people on Wednesday, including a one-year-old child.
Fires of historical proportion. Driven by drought and strong winds, extremely intense fires continued to destroy the west coast of the United States on Wednesday, September 9, killing six people, including a one-year-old child.
The child, who was found by rescue teams with severely burned parents, died in Washington state, the Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office said. All three tried to escape the flames.
“Go through hell”
The fires stretch from the state of Washington, on the border with Canada, to San Diego, in Southern California.
Between the two, Oregon has seen 120,000 acres go up in smoke and at least five communities have been largely destroyed by fires “unparalleled in the state’s history,” said its governor, Kate Brown. The authorities expect “many losses in terms of buildings and human lives” while massive evacuations are underway, she added at a press conference.
Two people were found dead in the state, the sheriff of Marion County in northwestern Oregon later announced. According to local media, it is a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother.
Jody Evans, a resident of the small town of Detroit, said she felt she was “going through hell” as she fled the flames that threatened her house. “The fire on both sides of the road, the fallen trees, the blowing wind, the box flying,” she told local channel Newschannel21.
Carried by the wind, the smokers spread towards the coast and covered entire regions with haze.
Almost a thousand firefighters were mobilized
In California, more than 20 fires are raging and this year the flame has consumed more than 10,000 km2 in the state, a record since this data was recorded in 1987.
Three people were found dead in the upstate, Butte County officials said.
In San Francisco, residents woke up to a dark orange sky that was hosting an apocalypse scene due to smoke from the fires further north. At noon, the cars were still driving headlights as if the sun had not yet risen.
Nearly 1,000 firefighters battled the fire, known as the Creek Fire in the central Fresno area, which spread over more than 65,000 acres.
Thick columns of smoke rose from the Sierra National Forest as helicopters crossed the area, an AFP reporter found at the site near Shaver Lake.
Many roads were blocked by the police and firefighters showed tired faces. In front of a landscape of charred trees, a completely ruined house had only its brick chimney still standing, revealing the skeleton of a completely burned washing machine. Further south, near Los Angeles, it destroyed BobcatFirea more on 4,500 acres and was still out of control, according to county firefighters.
Evacuation orders have also been issued for the endangered population near San Diego, where nearly 7,000 acres have burned in ValleyFire, according to local authorities.
FR NW GRAB PIERRICK CALIFORNIA LIGHTS 09H
“This is no longer Washington before”
Washington State Gov. JayInslee said on Tuesday that nine “major” fires burned more than 133,000 acres there in 24 hours, more than twice as much as the area burned throughout 2019.
“We live in a new world, it is no longer Washington before,” he said, condemning climate change, which he said was the source of these new fires.
“Conditions are so dry, so hot, so windy, because the climate has changed,” the governor said, adding that more than 100,000 people were without electricity.
The small town of Malden was almost completely destroyed. The fire station, the post office and the town hall “have completely burned down,” Sheriff Brett Myers said in a statement.
“There are no words to describe the extent of the damage,” Myers added. “The fire will be extinguished, but an entire society will be transformed forever.”
The easterly wind drove the vapors toward the Seattle area, the state’s largest city, where an air pollution warning was issued by the local Department of Ecology.
California Democratic Gov. GaryNews also condemned the catastrophic consequences of climate change. “I’m literally losing my patience with climate skeptics,” he said. “This point of view is in total contradiction with the reality on the ground.”