“Our number-one priority right now is saving lives. This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfires in our state’s history.”Kate Brown, Governor of Oregon
In Washington, fires have killed at least one and burned thousands of miles of land, as well. It was reported that California fires have destroyed 2.5 million acres and killed 11. The sheriff of Marion, Oregon, stated, “We also fear that this is not going to be the only folks we’ll find deceased up there.”
The Chief of Fire Protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry stated, “We are absolutely in unprecedented times.” On Thursday, President Trump made an emergency declaration regarding Oregon wildfires. The move will release greater fire resources to the region and provide housing for those temporarily misplaced. Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) praised the decision, stating “this decision to declare an emergency comes not a moment too soon.”
Thousands of residents from communities in Oregon and Washington have been forced to evacuate. The upper part of Lincoln City, an Oregon coast tourist town, was one area ordered to do so, but residents and visitors were “unable to leave due to the flood of traffic on area roadways.” One woman trying to evacuate said she only made it 12 miles in an hour:
“I’m just sitting here looking at the ocean and looking in my rear view mirror to see if the fire comes over the hill. They say ‘go,’ but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”Shelia Orwol, Oregon resident
The governor of Washington, a Democrat, has attributed the fires to global warming and said he will take action to protect against further climate change.
“We are not going to surrender the future of this state to climate change. We are stronger, smarter and more resilient than that. And I’ll be thinking of these fires and the communities they’re impacting when we take our next steps to defeat climate change.”Jay Inslee, Washington State Governor
Yesterday, 330,000 acres burned in WA.— Governor Jay Inslee (@GovInslee) September 8, 2020
That’s more than 12 of the last 18 entire fire seasons.
In a single day. pic.twitter.com/Op7UEfhTNA