12-Year-Old Boy and His Dog Die in Oregon Wildfires

by Chris Haney
12-year-old-boy-and-his-dog-die-in-oregon-wildfires

On Wednesday, a 12-year-old boy was found dead beside his dog after wildfires blazed through towns near Lyons, Oregon. The boy, Wyatte Tofte, supposedly ran out of his home as the fires closed in. Officials found the bodies of Wyatte and his dog alongside each other after the wildfires passed through the area.

Wyatte’s grandmother, Peggy Mosso, also died in the fire Wednesday. The boy’s mother, Angela Mosso, is in the hospital in an intensive care unit after suffering severe burns.

Christopher Tofte, Wyatte’s father, confirmed the two deaths to NBC affiliate KKGW. Lonnie Bertalotto, Wyatte’s uncle and Peggy’s son, also confirmed the deaths in a post on Facebook late Wednesday.

“Don’t take anything in life for granted and make the best of everyday,” posted Bertalotto.

Wyatte was the great-grandson of Roger Tofte, the creator of Oregon fantasy theme park The Enchanted Forest. Three generations of the Tofte family worked at the theme park before the wildfires, according to its website.

Additionally, the Enchanted Forest confirmed the deaths in a post on Facebook. Wyatte was “loved and adored by all of his family and friends” the post read. Likewise, it said Peggy was “a loved and important member of our extended family.”

“We ask for privacy and love right now,” the park’s statement ended .

“I can say personally, and on behalf of all our first responders, our hearts go out to the family,” Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast told KKGW, saying their investigation into the deaths is “ongoing.”

Multiple Wildfires Merge and Devastate Oregon

According to the U.S. Incident Information System, the Santiam Fire that took the life of Tofte and Mosso started on August 16. It began in the Opal Creek Wilderness, around six miles north of Detroit, Oregon.

The Beachie Creek Fire fueled its rapid progression. In addition, it grew because of “a series of small fires largely caused by downed power lines and other ignition sources throughout the area.” The huge fires have since combined into the Lionshead Fire east of the Detroit Lake.

The Lionshead Fire began late Sunday when lightning struck in the area of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Reservation.

Katy O’Hara, a spokesperson for Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 3, the interagency federal team fighting the Lionshead fire, said extremely low visibility had impeded fire response on Wednesday.

“Crews continued aggressively working to strengthen lines of the fire on the eastern side of the cascades on the Warm Springs Reservation in preparation for the predicted westerly wind shift forecasted for later this afternoon,” O’Hara stated Thursday.

[H/T NBC News]

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