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At least 36 people killed by Western wildfires that have torched more land than 6 Rhode Islands

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Eddie Campos watched helplessly as flames raced toward his family farm in Jamul, California.

“We called for air support. We called for ground support. We called for chopper support. And we couldn’t get no help at all,” Campos said.

“We tried to get all our personal belongings. And I told our kids, ‘It’s time, and our lives are in danger now.’ It’s just a horrible experience, seeing this fireball headed toward us. It was devastating.”

Soon, his farm was engulfed in flames. But his family was lucky. At least 36 people have died in the Western wildfires, which have torched more than 4.7 million acres. That’s more land than six Rhode Islands.

The National Interagency Fire Center said at least 87 wildfires are burning in 11 states. Many are filling the sky with choking smoke and pushing firefighters beyond exhaustion.

“We have so many brave firefighters who are working unending hours to try to contain these fires,” Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said Tuesday.

“We are living through an unprecedented situation here on the West Coast and in California.”

Before Campos and his family fled, “we went down the street to help a neighbor rescue eight horses,” Campos said.

“We grabbed nine dogs. We helped get some chickens out — I think there were about nine or 10 chickens,” he said. “It’s a real tight community, and we worked together to rescue animals before we left this place.”

22 people are missing in Oregon

Near the Beachie Creek fire east of Salem, Oregon, Scott Fogarty has no idea what happened to his longtime friend George Atiyeh. But he knows what happened to Atiyeh’s property.

“His home was completely lost, and his shop,” Fogarty said, holding photos of his friend.

Atiyeh is among at least 22 people missing in the Oregon wildfires, which have already killed 10 people in the state.

And authorities fear more deaths. A mobile medical examiner facility has been set up in Linn County due to wildfires in the area, Oregon State Police spokesman Timothy Fox said.

He said this is the first time a mobile morgue of that kind has ever been needed.

The 36 victims include a boy and his grandmother

At least 25 people have died in the California wildfires. The most deadly, the North Complex Fire, has claimed 15 lives and grown to more than 260,000 acres across four counties.

California’s Butte County Sheriff’s office identified seven victims killed in Berry Creek, who ranged in age from 16 to 79.

At least 10 people have been killed in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said. They include 13-year-old Wyatt Tofte and his grandmother, Peggy Mosso.

And in Washington state, one child was killed, Gov. Jay Inslee said.

Oregon Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps urged those who are evacuating to register with the American Red Cross so officials and loved ones will know they’re safe.

“If you’re concerned for missing family, please report that concern to the local law enforcement entity,” he said.

Virtually all of Washington is covered by ‘dangerous’ smoke

In Washington state, “virtually the entire state is covered by a cloud of smoke that’s unbelievably irritating, downright unhealthy and dangerous,” Gov. Inslee said.

In fact, The West Coast now has the worst air quality in the world.

“We’ve had dozens and dozens and dozens of homes burned down, had entire towns destroyed,” Inslee said.

Of the nine major wildfires burning in Washington state, the two largest — the Pearl Hill and Cold Springs fires — have collectively scorched more than 412,500 acres, according to the Washington State Department of Natural Resources.

‘”This is such a disaster in any dimension, but a particular disaster because we had our state turned into a tinder box by climate change,” Inslee said.

“We have grass now that’s almost like gasoline. A spark will make it explode. We have fires that just create walls of fire 20, 30 feet high from grass and sage brush.”

The grass and sage brush fires have “consumed whole towns,” the governor said.

Malden, in eastern Washington, saw 80% of its buildings destroyed in a firestorm Labor Day weekend.

The blaze took out several homes and civic offices including the fire station, post office, city hall and library, the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office said.

‘Climate change is real’

California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Washington’s Inslee have all reiterated that the fires in their states are the result of the climate crisis, disputing President Donald Trump’s claim that they’re the result of poor land management.

Newsom said record-breaking temperatures and drought conditions, which have fueled the recent fires, have been going on for years because of climate change.

“Climate change is real,” said Newsom, who met with Trump on Monday.

“It’s about acknowledging science, not about believing in facts or not believing in facts, facts are facts. Science is science, it’s about acknowledging the science and acknowledging the facts,” he said. “The hots are getting a lot hotter, the dries are getting a lot drier.”

Newsom said he reminded the President that 57% of the forested land in the state of California is under federal jurisdiction, while just 3% is under the state’s control.

He said it should be the joint responsibility of the state and federal government to do more on vegetation management and forest management.

“We can’t do this alone,” Newsom said. “We’re going to need the federal government to step up in substantial ways.”

Garcetti echoed that sentiment Monday and said he believes Trump is blaming the state due to political motivations.

“Our federal agencies do step up and do help us and do know that we need their assistance,” Garcetti said.

“The leader at the very top continues based on the electoral map to either, you know, put down California for not raking enough,” he said.

“He (Trump) doesn’t say anything like that in a swing state. In the Gulf Coast, he doesn’t assign the blame for the hurricanes or anything that they have done. It seems partisan at a moment that we should be non-political and that we should be finding our common ground in America.”

“Denial doesn’t work when it comes to climate,” Garcetti said. “The cost of denial is that people lose their lives and their livelihoods.”

Fire Alert / News / Oregon-Northwest

CNN

Comments

17 Comments

  1. So here’s your BGHW Poll for the day… “Which do you fear more ?”…

    A) Wildfires
    B) The Corona virus
    C) Kate Brown

    Please note- due to budget cuts and under-staffing- “write in” responses are not accepted.

  2. Guess what trumplings? Climate change is real, Mexico is never paying for the wall, Obamacare is here to stay, vote by mail works, masks help prevent the spread of covid and china isn’t paying the tariffs, you are.
    Moral of the story? Don’t believe anything that lyin’ sack of trump tells you

    1. Climate change is real. But it is only one factor in the current fire situation. Liberal refusal to acknowledge the lack of forest management just eliminates any credibility they have when it comes to natural disasters of this kind.

      Mexico is paying for the wall. A border crossing fee is being instituted and a tax on remittances to Mexico is under consideration. Funds have been seized from the cartels (hundreds of millions of dollars) and Mexico has stepped up to stop caravans of would-be illegals from transiting their country in order to illegally enter our country.

      Vote by mail is a sham, just look at the result in Oregon. Masks do NOTHING and people are only wearing them due to the mandate and the desire to not start trouble at the supermarket etc.

      Basically ever assertion you make is nonsense. We shall see how the whole country feels about it in just over a month from now.

      1. Guess who crosses the border mostly? Americans do. So nope. Mexicans will not be paying those fees, it will be all US citizens crossing to Mexico and Back.
        He tricked you again.

    2. 1970’s experts say we are heading towards a ice age. Multiple fires are related to arson, multiple arsonists arrested all over the state, guess that could be called global warming.
      Obamacare here to stay? Thought that garbage was thrown out by trump?
      Moral of the story trump wins again and you will cry again for another 4 more years.

      1. Climate change does not cause fires, it just makes them worse. Arson and climate change are not mutually exclusive. No wonder trump said in Nevada that he “loved the poorly educated.”

    1. Maybe some scientists need to try and genetically remove the explosive matter from the exploding trees, this’ll prevent future fires.
      Wait, I had forgotten that “science doesn’t know”.

  3. It looks like the topic of arsonists causing the vast majority of these fires has gone quiet- is there a media lock-down on this information ? I mean- where is CNN to tell us that such information will not be shared because we don’t want to “panic” the civilians… have to wonder now how many of the past fires that raged though-out Oregon- that were deemed “human caused” were actually arson- but we were never told because of the potential fall out- like citizens taking fire watch duty to protect their property- stop cars to find out what the guy behind the wheel is really doing out driving around a rural neighborhood.

    We know for a fact that BLM and Antifa used molotav cocktails to throw at Portland police during the summer riots- we also know that police are finding similar devices to start these arson fires- so where’s the updates on these crimes ?

    1. Obama’s tweet 9/9. “The fires across the West Coast are just the latest examples of the very real ways our changing climate is changing our communities. Protecting our planet is on the ballot. Vote like your life depends on it—because it does.” They want to usher in the green new deal.

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