Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Raging wildfires destroy Washington town, roar through California, Oregon

WorldSep 08, 2020 09:25PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
2/2 © Reuters. Creek Fire rages in Tollhouse 2/2

By Sharon Bernstein

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Reuters) - Uncontrolled wildfires driven by high winds and unprecedented temperatures raged across the U.S. West on Tuesday, incinerating the Washington town of Malden and threatening communities in Oregon and California.

Firefighters and emergency responders searched on Tuesday for residents of tiny Malden, about 300 miles (480 km) east of Seattle, a day after a firestorm destroyed 80% of its homes, along with the fire station, post office, city hall and library.

"The scale of this disaster really can't be expressed in words," said Brett Myers, sheriff of Whitman County, where the town of 200-300 people is located. "I pray everyone got out in time."

The fire that destroyed Malden erupted about noon on Sunday, driven by winds of 40 miles per hour (34 knots), Myers told Reuters.

Authorities went door-to-door ordering evacuations before the blaze arrived. The fire engulfed most of the town over the course of about three hours.

"It moved incredibly fast," Myers said.

That fire was one of dozens of large blazes burning in Washington, Oregon and California over the Labor Day holiday weekend, as the thermometer soared. Temperatures in the western part of Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley topped 121 degrees Fahrenheit (49 Celsius).

"I have no patience for climate change deniers," California Governor Gavin Newsom said, pointing to the high temperatures, as well as years of drought that have killed millions of trees, providing fuel for fires. "It simply is completely inconsistent ... with the reality on the ground."

PEAK FIRE SEASON

About 14,000 firefighters battled 25 blazes in California with more than 2.2 million acres (890,308 hectares) charred since the fire season got an early - and deadly - start last month, a record for this point in the year, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said on Tuesday. The state's peak fire season has yet to begin.

Fires forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes and closed several nationl forests across the state.

Smoke darkened the skies and made breathing difficult as far north as Canada and well down the coast toward Southern California. In the state capital of Sacramento, the skies were gray and it was difficult to breathe, as high winds carried in dust and smoke from numerous fires.

Air throughout much of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, the state's agricultural breadbasket, was rated "hazardous" by the state.

The Creek Fire in the Fresno area of central California, which caused the weekend emergency evacuation of more than 200 people vacationing at a popular reservoir, grew overnight under what CalFire on Tuesday called "extreme conditions."

The blaze, which started on Sept. 4, threatened the community of Shaver Lake, among others, fueled in part by trees weakened by drought and killed by the invasive bark beetle, the fire agency said.

HELICOPTER EVACUATIONS

At a news conference on Tuesday, Newsom praised the firefighters who led a helicopter evacuation of the area, saying they saved 214 people in smoky conditions that made it difficult to see.

"They very easily could have turned around and said the smoke made that mission too dangerous," Newsom said, calling the rescuers heroic. Rescue efforts continued on Tuesday, he said, with about 165 people airlifted to safety and escape routes sought for more than a dozen more.

By Tuesday morning, the fire was completely uncontained and had burned 144,000 acres (58,275 hectares), CalFire said.

Firefighters on the ground were also in peril.

Fifteen firefighters fighting another blaze in the Los Padres National Forest were forced to take cover in their personal fire shelters, which is "considered a life-saving measure and a last resort," said Chris Barth, a spokesman for the Pacific Northwest Team Two fire command. Three were seriously injured, one critically.

Pacific Gas & Electric (N:PCG) (PG&E) shut off power to thousands of residents in 22 counties in California to prevent sparks from its equipment from setting off more fires.

A fire in San Bernardino County, southeast of Los Angeles, that officials said was caused by a pyrotechnic device used during a gender reveal party, had burned nearly 11,000 acres by Tuesday morning and was 16% contained, CalFire said.

Newsom on Sunday declared a state of emergency in Fresno, Madera, Mariposa, San Bernardino and San Diego counties due to the wildfires.

In Oregon, several communities were evacuated and the first day of school postponed, Oregon Public Broadcasting reported.

Raging wildfires destroy Washington town, roar through California, Oregon
 

Related Articles

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind: 

  • Enrich the conversation
  • Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
  • Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
  •  Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
  • Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
  • Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
Thom Miller
Thom Miller Sep 09, 2020 12:38AM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Israel thinks nothing about burning down its Arab neighbors, so why is Eddie so upset? Israel should be bannished!
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email