More than 100 wildfires are simultaneously raging across 12 western states, burning more than 3.4 million acres and leaving seven people dead in California, Oregon and Washington.
Blazes caused by heatwaves and droughts on the West Coast have ravaged at least five towns. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of citizens have evacuated under apocalyptic skies stained orange and red by smoke.
The quickly spreading fires have already killed seven people who didn’t evacuate their area before flames engulfed their communities.
In Washington state, a one-year-old boy named Uriel was killed. The Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan County trapped his parents Jake and Jamie Hyland where they suffered severe burns.
In Oregon, 12-year-old Wyatt Tofte and his grandmother Peggy Mosso were victims of the wildfires. They were in the Santiam Valley community of Lyons, around 50 miles south of Portland. Wyatt Tofte’s mother is currently in the hospital in critical condition after suffering critical burns.
The Alameda Fire, 250 miles away in Ashland, claimed the life of another person. In fact, Oregon Governor Kate Brown warned, “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.”
Finally, in California, three people died when the Bear Fire swept through Butte County on Tuesday night.
Wildfires Wreak Havoc on the West Coast
Across the country, wildfires have burned nearly 4.7 million acres in 2020, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
The majority of the fires are in western states. where 17 new enormous wildfires were reported on Wednesday. That brings the total to 90 that have burned more than 3.4 million acres. To illustrate, that is an area roughly the size of Connecticut.
Only ‘smoldering ruins’ were left in sections of the town of Talent, Oregon, said local resident Sandra Spelliscy.
“There are numerous neighborhoods where there are no structures left standing… dozens of homes [gone] and literally nothing except the skeletons of a chimney or an appliance,” she said.
Uncontrollable blazes in Oregon forced firefighters to retreat. Afterward, officials gave residents ‘go now’ orders to evacuate, meaning they only had minutes to leave their homes.
“It was like driving through hell,” Jody Evans told local NewsChannel21.
Details of the Seven People Killed by West Coast Blazes
In Okanogan County, Washington, the Hyland family got trapped by the Cold Springs Fire as they evacuated their property near Omak on Sunday night.
Later, search and rescue teams discovered dad Jake and mom Jamie, who is pregnant, gravely injured on the banks of the Columbia River. Their one-year-old son Uri had already passed away.
Jamie, 26, suffered burns over 40 to 50 percent of her body. She underwent surgery on both her arms, a relative posted to a GoFundMe page.
Her husband Jake, 31, suffered burns on 25 percent of his body. Likewise, he was preparing for surgery on his arms.
To the south in Butte County, California, Sheriff Kory Honea confirmed that three people have passed away due to the Bear Fire. Currently, officials have not revealed the victims’ identities.
The confirmed deaths brought the death toll of this summer’s intense California wildfires to at least 11.
At this time, at least 12 people are still missing in Butte County as the Bear Fire blazes on, according to Honea.
[H/T Daily Mail]