Dozens remain missing as wildfires torch millions of acres in US West

WION Web Team
New York, New York, United States of America Published: Sep 13, 2020, 08:54 PM(IST)

Wildfires have ravaged US West Photograph:( Reuters )

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A blitz of wildfires across Oregon, California and Washington has destroyed thousands of homes and a half dozen small towns this summer, scorching a landscape the size of New Jersey and killing more than two dozen people since early August.

Wildfires tearing through communities across the US West have killed 33 people, and authorities fear dozens more are missing.

A blitz of wildfires across Oregon, California and Washington has destroyed thousands of homes and a half dozen small towns this summer, scorching a landscape the size of New Jersey and killing more than two dozen people since early August.

Crews were to resume searching for the dead on Sunday among blackened ruins left by massive wildfires raging in the three western US states, where millions of acres have burned in weeks and "mass fatality" incidents are feared in Oregon.

Emergency officials worried that the shifting weather might not bring much relief to southern Oregon, where an apocalyptic scene of charred residential subdivisions and trailer parks stretched for miles along Highway 99 south of Medford through the neighbouring communities of Phoenix and Talent.

At least ten people have been killed in Oregon, according to the office of emergency management. Brown has said that dozens of people remained missing across three counties.

In California, tens of thousands of firefighters were battling 28 major wildfires as of Saturday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Improving weather conditions had helped them gain a measure of containment over most of the blazes.

Meanwhile, the White House said Trump, a Republican, will meet with federal and California officials on Monday. The president has said that western governors bear some of the blame for intense fire seasons in recent years, accusing them of poor forest management.

Trump's Democratic opponent in the November election, Joe Biden, on Saturday linked the conflagrations to climate change, echoing comments made a day earlier by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

More than 4,000 homes and other structures have been incinerated in California alone over the past three weeks. Three million acres of land have been burned in the state, according to the state's Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Also, Facebook said on Saturday it was now removing false claims that the wildfires in Oregon were started by certain groups.

"This is based on confirmation from law enforcement that these rumors are forcing local fire and police agencies to divert resources from fighting the fires and protecting the public," a Facebook spokesman said.

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