Massive evacuations in the western United States before fires

Firefighters continued to fight hundreds of fires that have devastated the west coast of the United States for several days. The fires killed at least 10 people, including an infant, and forced tens of thousands of residents to flee the flames. Relief fears a heavier toll.

Throwing yourself into a cloud of smoke, the western United States is on fire. The fires, active for several days, stretch from Washington State, bordering Canada, to San Diego, on the Mexican border. , takes a historical scale.

In Oregon – a state between Washington State and California – at least five cities have been “significantly destroyed” and about 40,000 people have been evacuated. Governor Kate Brown said that in just three days, the flames had consumed the double vegetation that burns on average in one year. “We have never seen fires out of control of such magnitude in our state,” she told a news conference without being able to provide an updated assessment of the victims.

In a Twitter post, she insisted: “Oregonians’ lives are in danger. Follow evacuation missions, try to reduce your exposure to fumes. Take care of each other,” she asks. .

In Molalla, one of many cities south of Portland that was threatened by fires in Oregon, police on Thursday urged door-to-door residents to leave the area as directed. A difficult decision to make for residents who, however, have no choice in the face of these flames that have already caused the deaths of at least ten people.

In California, tolls are growing

In California, where more than thirty fires are active, the situation is dramatic. The “August Complex Fire”, the fire that ravaged northwestern California, officially became the largest fire in the world on September 10. history in this state. This composition of 37 fires, which affected the Mendocino forest from 17 August, covers more than 190,000 hectares.


“North Complex Fire” is now murderous: seven people lost their lives and tolls are likely to increase. “The firefighters who were working on this fire were worried and it was justified. Seven new bodies were found in this fire. Sixteen people were missing on Thursday night,” said Pierrick Leurent, a correspondent for France 24 in California.

About 2,000 firefighters worked hard on Thursday night to fight the “North Complex Fire” which covers the region in smoke and gives sky a red and apocalyptic color“That’s the case all over California. I drove from Los Angeles to Sacramento, I have not seen the sky once. It’s just fog and smoke,” adds Pierrick Leurent.

“Creek Fire” – which affects the counties of Fresno and Madera – has meanwhile already burned more than 70,000 hectares and sown desolation in its path: charred car wrecks, houses of which only the brick remains. … About 360 buildings were destroyed, according to California firefighters, who deployed nearly 1,000 men to fight the flames.

Near Fresno, thousands of people had to flee their homes in just a few minutes. “We put over 600 people (in safety) on Tuesday night and the night before,” Cindy Huge told Fresno. The words of the Red Cross.

Near Los Angeles, “Bobcat Fire”, still out of control, destroyed more than 9,000 acres, according to firefighters.

“We will not give up”

In the state of Washington, more than 200,000 acres have gone up in smoke, according to Gov. Jay Inslee, who condemned the catastrophic consequences of climate change. “We will not give up the future of this state in the face of climate change,” he said on Twitter. “I will think about these fires and their impact on our populations as we make our next decisions to combat climate change,” he added.

The governor also paid tribute to the memory of a one-year-old baby found by rescue teams of his badly burned parents, who were trying to escape the fire, about 200 miles from Seattle. “The child’s family and their community will never be the same again,” said Jay Inslee.

With AFP