Last Thursday, authorities found seven bodies in Northern California as firefighters fought multiple ravaging wildfires, raising the total number of victims in the state to 10.
At least five others have been killed in Washington state and Oregon last week amid a series of out of control wildfires.
State officials said that the lethal, fast-moving wildfires ravaging across multiple West Coast that it has forced about 500,000 people in Oregon to evacuate their homes.
The Oregon Office of Emergency Management estimates that around half a million people — more than 10% of the state’s population according to the Census Bureau — have been evacuated and “that number continues to grow.” Thick smoke has covered the region, and some communities in southern Oregon have already been polarised and reduced to ashes.
Firefighters around the country were called to help contain the massive deadly blazes. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, as of Thursday last week, more than 100 wildfires across 12 Western states burned more than 4.3 million acres, that’s nearly 7,000 square miles or roughly the size of New Jersey.
According to Cal Fire, the August Complex fire in Northern California is now considered the biggest in the state’s recorded history. It has consumed 471,185 acres and has only been 24% contained since it was sparked by storm lightning on August 17.
While the full extent of the damage remains unknown in many communities, the wildfires have taken a toll on human lives.
A child in Washington state was killed in the Cold Springs Fire, officials said Wednesday last week. According to a hospital spokeswoman, two of the child’s relatives were airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where they’re both in critical condition and being treated by burn specialists.
In Oregon, three people were killed in Marion County and one in Jackson County.
“We also fear that this is not going to be the only folks we’ll find deceased up there,” Marion County Sheriff Joe Kast said.
In California, officials said they are working to recover the remains of three people who died in Butte County, about 80 miles north of Sacramento, in the North Complex Fire.