Wildfires are raging through the West Coast, scorching millions of acres and killing at least seven people so far, CNN reports. California, Oregon, and Washington have all been affected by the infernos, growing evacuation orders, and massive power outages.
The blazes, fueled by high wind and extreme temperatures, have already led to the worst California wildfire season in recorded history. At this time last year, 118,000 acres had burned in California wildfires; so far this year, it’s 2.3 million, according to Governor Gavin Newsom, who tweeted “CLIMATE. CHANGE. IS. REAL.” Firefighters are scrambling to control dozens of active fires in the state right now, with months to go until the end of the season.
Beyond California, Oregon and Washington have also experienced raging wildfires in recent days and weeks. Medford, Oregon has been especially hard-hit, with its 82,000 residents facing mandatory evacuation orders. Governor Kate Brown called the wildfires and high winds “a once-in-a-generation event” in a press conference this week.
In Washington State, local officials reported that 80% of homes and structures in a small town called Malden have been destroyed by fire. “The scale of this disaster really can’t be expressed in words,” the sheriff of Whitman County, Washington told the The New York Times. “I pray everyone got out in time.”
The fires have resulted in surreal, otherworldly photos of massive flames and an eerie sky. In San Francisco, the city sat underneath a dark, orange haze at midday. In Salem, the sky glowed blood red. They’re images straight out of an apocalyptic movie, but the destruction is all too real. Below, some of the most astounding photos of the West Coast wildfires so far.
People really don’t know what to do right now. Everyone on the Embarcadero is stopping to record the sky and chit chatting in a way I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic @sfchronicle pic.twitter.com/ueKQ4g7WTD— Jessica Christian (@jachristian) September 9, 2020
Had to use an old digital camera with flash to really capture this weirdness pic.twitter.com/wXaYcs7SMO— Ned 🌱 (@nedhugar) September 9, 2020
Wildfire smoke and ash north of downtown Salem, Oregon, two hours *before* sunset. No filter. pic.twitter.com/SHe0GPqqvm— Darlene (I am not your partisan) Strozut☔️ (@Enstone) September 8, 2020
@SCFD8 is very busy today. @SCFD8 is part of a strike team heading to Colfax to fight a Wildfire along with a District 8 crew coming from the Evans Canyon Fire. B81 and T81 is on the Trails Rd fire West of town and B82 is on the Babb Rd fire In Rosalia. pic.twitter.com/JRAkiRQsHM— Spokane Co.FD8 Firefighters (@spokaneco8_3711) September 8, 2020
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