Deadly wildfires rage in California, Oregon and Washington

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Veronica Rocha and Judson Jones, CNN

Updated 0206 GMT (1006 HKT) September 11, 2020
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7:37 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Video shows Sierra Nevada mountains in California shrouded in smoke

From CNN's Christina Zdanowicz

Phillip Bergman was flying from Dallas to his home in Fresno, California, on Thursday when he looked out the window and saw smoke from the Creek Fire over the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Bergman, who works in video production, said he’s used to flying over the mountain range, but it doesn’t usually look this way.

“It was very strange and sad to see the mountain range shrouded in all that smoke,” Bergman wrote. “I like to hike a lot so going up into the mountains is a lot of fun for me, and now that it’s all burning down, things won’t be the way they use to be for quite a while.”

Watch:

7:13 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

At least eight dead in West Coast fires

From CNN’s Joe Sutton and Jon Passantino

The unprecedented wildfires that continue to cause havoc on the West Coast have claimed the lives of at least eight people.

According to the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office, authorities discovered one fatality Wednesday in the burn area near Happy Camp, California.

The Slater Fire is burning in that area. 

7:26 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Camp for kids with cancer damaged in California wildfire

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A woodsy getaway camp for kids with cancer has been damaged in Northern California.

The Okizu Camp for pediatric cancer patients and their families is yet another casualty of the wildfires scarring California as the Bear Fire, part of the North Complex, burned through the area. 

“We are heartbroken to let you know that we were notified today that there has been significant fire damage to our beloved Camp Okizu at Berry Creek,” Executive Director Suzie Randall posted on the organization’s website.

Camp Okizu hosts about 700 kids each year, along with their siblings and parents, giving them a respite from hospitals and doctor appointments. It is not yet clear if anything is left of the camp, which had a large lodge, 32 cabins, an extensive ropes course, and an infirmary to care for campers undergoing chemotherapy or those that might need blood draws.

Board Member Hanna Malak has been visiting the camp since he was eight years old, when his older brother had leukemia.

“There are definitely a lot of memories made there, but the magic of Okizu is the people,” Malak said.

“It is devastating,” Malak said of the destruction. “I think I’m going through the stages of loss and feel like I’m still in denial. It’s still hard to believe, but we are staying positive and are especially thankful no one was hurt.” 

The threat of Covid-19 among a population of campers with compromised immune systems has left the camp empty during what would otherwise be a busy summer season.

“Our hearts have been in our throats all day, and we’ve been following every news report, hoping against hope for a miracle,” the organization said in a news release. “There is nothing we can possibly say except that Okizu is a family, and as in any family, it is the people who matter most. We each carry Okizu within us, and that is something no fire can destroy."

5:49 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

More than 100 fires are still burning in the West

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

The wildfires in the West are continuing to rage and burn more acreage.

There are now 102 active large wildfires burning in the US, according to the latest data from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC).

So far, 4,350,558 acres have now burned from these fires, the NIFC said.

5:55 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Nearly 900,000 acres have burned in Oregon wildfires

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

The Holiday Farm fire is seen burning in the mountains around McKenzie Bridge, Oregon on September 9.
The Holiday Farm fire is seen burning in the mountains around McKenzie Bridge, Oregon on September 9. Tyee Burwel/AFP/Getty Images

Oregon is "now approaching 900,000 acres burned across the state," Gov. Kate Brown said during today's news conference.

For perspective, Brown noted in the last 10 years, the state sees an average of 500,000 acres burned in an entire year.

"We know there are fire-related fatalities," Brown said.

She said as soon as they could provide “confirmed information” on the fatalities, they would do so.

Brown added that approximately 30,000 to 40,000 Oregonians have evacuated.

3:19 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

More than 3 million acres have burned in California

From CNN's Stella Chan

Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, California, on Wednesday, September 9. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region.
Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, California, on Wednesday, September 9. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region. Noah Berger/AP

More than 3.1 million acres, twice the size of Delaware, have burned in California and 12 people have died as a result of the wildfires ravaging the state, according to a California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) news release.

“This year’s fire season has been a record-breaking year, in not only the total amount of acres burned, but six of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history have occurred in 2020,” Cal Fire said.

Fires have destroyed more than 3,900 structures. At least 14,000 firefighters are battling 29 major fires up and down the state. 

The August Complex Fire in Tehama County took the top spot in the state’s list of largest wildfires, clocking in at 471,185 acres. It is 24% contained.

At least five of the state’s largest fires are active.  

The massive North Complex Fire, an amalgamation of blazes, including the Bear fire, is 247,358 acres and 23% contained. The blaze is ninth in the state’s largest wildfires list. Three people are dead as a result of the fire, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced last night, and at least a dozen are missing.

Parts of the city of Oroville are under evacuation orders while a portion of the town of Paradise, ravaged by the devastating 2018 Camp Fire, is under evacuation warnings.

The Creek Fire in Central California has scorched 175,893 acres and continues to burn out of control. The fire destroyed at least 361 structures and threatens over 14,000. The temperature is expected to return to seasonal averages with low humidity today.

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest is 23,890 acres and firefighters have no containment. The blaze started Sunday and the cause is still under investigation. L.A. County foothill communities including Pasadena, Duarte, and Monrovia are under an evacuation warning.

The El Dorado Fire, sparked by a gender reveal mishap this weekend, consumed 12,610 acres in San Bernardino County and is 23% contained.

3:15 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

What you need to know about the wildfires in Washington

Smoke rises from a hillside burned by a wildfire, Tuesday, September 8, near Sumner, Washington.
Smoke rises from a hillside burned by a wildfire, Tuesday, September 8, near Sumner, Washington. Ted S. Warren/AP

Wildfires are raging across the West Coast, with several of them are burning in Washington state.

Here are the latest updates from the Evergreen State:

  • Evacuations and destruction: The Sumner Grade Fire, just outside Tacoma, Washington, burned several homes and prompted hundreds of evacuations, CNN affiliate KOMO reported. On Wednesday, it was about 20% contained, the news station reported.
  • Most explosive fire in three decades: East Pierce Fire Chief Bud Backer is overseeing firefighters tackling the Sumner Grade Fire. In a Twitter post, Gov. Jay Inslee said the fire chief said he hadn't seen a fire explode like this one "in his 33 years of service. Climate change is making these fires more frequent, more expensive and far more dangerous," the governor wrote.
  • At least one death: Of the seven people killed in the wildfires across the West Coast, one of them is a child in Washington state who was killed in the Cold Springs Fire, officials said Wednesday.
2:35 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

There are at least 37 active fires in Oregon

From CNN’s Gregory Lemos

The state of Oregon now has 37 active fires and at least 672,806 have burned, according to Oregon Office of Emergency Management Public Information Officer, Paula Negele.  

Damage from the fires have gotten so bad, Portland General Electric has stopped providing estimates of power restoration, according to their website.  

“Due to the volume of outages, it is difficult for us to accurately estimate a restoration time for each individual home or location. We understand this is frustrating and we appreciate your patience. We’ll update this information as we make our assessments and crews respond to each location,” their website said Thursday. 

The state of Oregon had 68,444 households without power as of 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday, according to poweroutage.us.

 

1:58 p.m. ET, September 10, 2020

Catch up on the latest wildfire updates from Oregon

Heather Marshall talks to her mother as she stands by the ruins of her home at Coleman Creek Estates mobile home park in Phoenix, Oregon, Thursday, September 10, after a wildfire swept through. The Marshalls lived at the park for 21 years.
Heather Marshall talks to her mother as she stands by the ruins of her home at Coleman Creek Estates mobile home park in Phoenix, Oregon, Thursday, September 10, after a wildfire swept through. The Marshalls lived at the park for 21 years. Paula Bronstein/AP

Wildfires are raging from California to Washington today, creating dangerous conditions and prompting evacuations along the Pacific Coast.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown warned residents that the current blazes could create the "greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history."

Here's what we know so far about the wildfires in Oregon:

  • Almost half a million acres burned: Nearly 50 active wildfires in Oregon have consumed more than 470,000 acres across the state, according to the state's office of emergency management. Hundreds of homes and parts of several communities have been destroyed.
  • At least 3 dead: Three people were killed in fires in Oregon, including two 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.
  • 0% containment in one fire: Officials originally thought the Santiam Fire, initially called the Beachie Creek Fire, would likely grow to less than 500 acres, but a "historic" windstorm Monday fanned the flames and the blaze grew to more than 131,000 acres in a night. The fire has now burned more than 158,000 acres and is 0% contained.