WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- At least 35 have died from the West Coast wildfires that destroyed neighborhoods in Oregon, California, and Washington.
- The fires also cast a shroud of smoke that worsened the air quality and made it difficult to breathe.
- Firefighters are still concerned that strong winds and low moisture could continue to fan the flames.
The West Coast wildfires have forced tens of thousands to flee, destroyed neighborhoods, and killed at least 35 from California to the state of Washington.
The fires also cast a shroud of smoke that made it difficult to breathe. The smoke’s acrid metallic smell has turned the air quality in Seattle, San Francisco; and Portland, Oregon, into the worst in the world.
The smoke blocked the sun and cooled down the weather, however, helping firefighters get a handle on the blazes.
But there are still concerns that strong winds and low moisture could continue to fan the flames. It is still a red-flag situation from hard-hit southern Oregon to Northern California until Monday evening.
Several families were forced to flee last week after seeing a big cloud of smoke only to come back to see their home in charred ruins. The situation is still uncertain and they may have to move again.
Around 50 people were reported missing last week after a wildfire in the Ashland area. That number was updated late Saturday when the Jackson County sheriff’s office confirmed that the blaze killed four people, with the number of missing people down to one.
The death toll throughout Oregon reached 10 in the past week. According to authorities, that number is likely to increase with more people missing from other fires. The fires have killed 24 in California and one in Washington state.
Residents living around the Portland area found themselves terrified as the smoke made it difficult to see. They could only hope that there wasn’t enough damage.
One resident of the southern town of Talent, Dave Monroe, shared, “We thought we’d get out of this summer with no fires. There is something going on, that’s for sure, man. Every summer we’re burning up.” His home had completely burned.
Recent studies have linked bigger wildfires in the country to global warming caused by the burning of coal, oil, and gas.
All three states’ Democratic governors declared that the fires were brought about by climate change.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee took aim at President Donald Trump on Sunday on ABC‘s “This Week,” saying, “It is maddening right now… with the entire West Coast of the United States on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires, these are climate fires.”
The president, meanwhile, blamed inadequate forest management caused by “budget cutbacks” in California.
Firefighters have been battling the Oregon fires nonstop for six days while also worrying for their families.
They only got a brief break on Sunday, when they could finally glimpse the sun.
Source: ABC News