It’s hard to fathom the amount of destruction sweeping across California, Oregon and Washington State. In Oregon alone, The Weather Channel reports:
Two of Oregon’s largest wildfires were likely to merge Friday, triggering new evacuations south of Portland in a state that has already evacuated about 10% of its population.
All told, an estimated 500,000 people had evacuated in Oregon and that number kept growing overnight.
Fire officials said the Beachie Creek and Riverside fires were likely to merge in Clackamas County.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown commented: “I wish the 2020 wildfires were an anomaly – but this will not be a one-time event. Unfortunately, it is a bellwether of the future. We are seeing the devastating effects of climate change in Oregon, on the entire West Coast, and throughout the world.” Watch more above from the NBC affiliate in Portland.
We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state. Currently there are fires burning more than 900,000 acres. To put that into perspective, over the last 10 years, an average of 500,000 acres burn in an entire year. We’ve seen nearly double that in 3 days.
— Governor Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 10, 2020
In California, 10 people are dead and 16 missing. The Los Angeles Times writes:
“A record 3 million acres have burned across California this year, with so many blazes simultaneously whipping through dry wilderness that many have converged into massive “complexes,” the scope of which the state has never seen.
On Thursday, the August Complex — the product of 37 fires in and around Tehama County — became the largest ever recorded in California at 471,000 acres.”
California's North Complex fire has killed at least 10 people, making it the state's deadliest blaze of the year.
It has also destroyed thousands of homes and burned nearly 300,000 acres pic.twitter.com/HBHYpIwqI5
— Bloomberg QuickTake (@QuickTake) September 11, 2020
Air quality is also a major concern today. SFGATE writes:
The Bay Area has been choking on wildfire smoke for weeks, but early Friday morning the sooty conditions worsened with air quality reaching severely unhealthy levels over large swaths of the region.
With minimal wind in the forecast, the National Weather Service said the heavy smoke concentrations are expected to persist through the day with little relief.
— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) September 11, 2020
It’s a similar situation in Washington and Oregon. According to Oregon Live, Portland is “the worst among major cities across the globe.”
The air quality monitoring website IQAir.com, which ranks air pollution across nearly 100 cities internationally, elevated Portland Friday to its No. 1 position — as in the worst, with an overall air quality index of 239. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website listed Portland’s measurement Friday as even higher, at 349.
Meanwhile, as these states await federal assistance there is still silence from Donald Trump. Politico reports:
It’s been three weeks since President Donald Trump made his last major public reference to California — when he addressed a rally in swing state Pennsylvania. “I see again the forest fires are starting,” he said. “I said, ‘you gotta clean your floors, you gotta clean your forests.’ … Maybe we’re just going to have to make them pay for it because they don’t listen to us.”
Trump saw peaceful protests in Portland and sent in hundreds of unidentified federal law enforcement officers to put them down.
Wildfires are consuming the state and he is doing nothing.
— Travis Mockler ⚡️ (@travismockfler) September 11, 2020