Home World Raging West Coast wildfires could worsen with rising wind gusts

Raging West Coast wildfires could worsen with rising wind gusts

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Wind gusts early this week could fan the wildfires that have broken out across the West Coast, scorching 4.6 million acres and killing at least 35 people.

More than 30,000 firefighters are battling 94 blazes mostly concentrated in California, Washington state and Oregon, the National Interagency Fire Center said Sunday.

The fire center warned of wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph as an “upper-level weather disturbance” moves through the Pacific Northwest, northeast California and the western Great Basin.

But the center also said “overnight recovery Sunday night into Monday will be significantly improved with increasing moisture.”

A so-called “red flag warning” was in effect in parts of Northern California, with Cal Fire on Sunday warning of dry conditions on top of wind gusts through Monday evening.

Smoke from the raging infernos has blanketed the skies but the center said it’s actually limited temperatures, providing smoke eaters with some respite.

Two dozen people in California have been killed since the wildfires began last month. One was killed in Washington.

Dozens were reported missing in the Ashland area in Oregon but have all been accounted for. At least 10 have died in the state, with officials warning that the death toll could climb.

The fast-moving fires have forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, destroying thousands of homes and leveling complete cities, including Phoenix and Talent in Oregon.

Dave Monroe returned to Talent, in the southwest part of the state, partially hoping he’d find his three cats.

“We thought we’d get out of this summer with no fires,” Monroe told the Associated Press. “There is something going on, that’s for sure, man. Every summer we’re burning up.”

Barbara Rose Bettison, 25, fled her farm in Eagle Creek, outside Portland, with her chickens, rabbits and cats.

“It’s terrifying. We’ve never had any form of natural disaster,” she told the AP.

Her neighbors have said it’s so smoky, they can’t see their hands in front of their faces.

“I’m hoping there has not been too much damage because it would break my heart,” said Bettison, who hasn’t returned to her farm.

A US flag flies at a burnt home in a neighborhood destroyed by the wildfire

Getty Images

US-FIRES

Flames from the Beachie Creek Fire destroyed the Oregon Department of Forestry, North Cascade District Office in Lyons, Oregon

POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Wildfires continues in California

A helicopter drops water to help extinguish the Bobcat Fire, in Arcadia, California

REUTERS

A search and rescue team looks for victims in the aftermath of the Almeda fire in Talent, Oregon

A member of a search and rescue team from Salt Lake City, including a canine named Kya, look for victims through gutted homes in the aftermath of the Almeda fire in Talent, Oregon

REUTERS

Red fire retardant blankets burned residences and vehicles in the aftermath of the Almeda fire in Talent, Oregon

Red fire retardant blankets burned residences and vehicles in the aftermath of the Almeda fire in Talent, Oregon

REUTERS

Wildfires continue in Oregon

Hansel Valentine, 24, inspects the remains of the burnt down property of her relatives, as the wildfire continues in Estacada, Oregon

REUTERS

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The Democratic governors in all three states say climate change is behind the destructive wildfires. President Trump, who is set to visit California on Monday, has blamed poor forest management.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said 500,000 acres usually burn a year but more than a million acres have been scorched in just the past week.

“This is truly the bellwether for climate change on the West Coast,” she said Sunday on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “And this is a wake-up call for all of us that we have got to do everything in our power to tackle climate change.”

Trump is headed to McClellan Park, a former airbase just outside Sacramento, and will meet with Gov. Gavin Newsom, officials said.

As he toured a fire-ravaged area in Northern California on Friday, Newsom called out the “ideological BS” of climate-change deniers, noting that the state had its hottest August and world-record-setting heat in Death Valley.

“The debate is over around climate change,” he said. “Just come to the state of California, observe it with your own eyes.

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