At least seven people have lost their lives in the devastating wildfires that continue to rage in several Western U.S. states, with reports of victims coming from California, Oregon and Washington.
What are the details?
The first reported death was out of Washington on Wednesday, where a 1-year-old boy died and his parents were severely burned as the family fled wildfires in the northern part of the state. The mother and father were hospitalized for their injuries.
Three people have been killed by the fires in Oregon. The Oregonian reported that a 13-year-old boy, Wyatt Tofte, and his grandmother, Peggy Mosso, were the first fatalities in the state. CBS News reported that Wyatt fled as a fire approached his home on Tuesday night, and his body was later found inside a vehicle along with the remains of his dog. The boy’s mother was hospitalized and remains in critical condition.
The third victim in Oregon was found on Thursday in the southern part of the state from a fire that is now being investigated as arson. That person’s identity has not been made public.
Another three people were found dead in Butte County, California, according to Mercury News. One of them was discovered late Wednesday morning, and authorities believe the individual was overcome by flames after fleeing their vehicle. Another two victims were found together in a separate area, but they have not been identified positively according to Sheriff Kory Honea.
“Time and again we have seen how dangerous wildfires can be,” Honea said during a press conference. “So I ask that you please, please, please be prepared, maintain situational awareness and heed the warnings.”
The The New York Times noted that “California’s wildfire season is already the most severe in modern history, measured by acres burned.” The outlet reported, “More than 2.5 million acres of land have burned in the state this year, nearly 20 times what had burned at this time last year.”
The Associate Press reported that since mid-August in California, “fires have killed 12 people, destroyed more than 3,600 buildings, burned old growth redwoods, charred chaparral and forced evacuations in communities near the coast, in wine country north of San Francisco and along the Sierra Nevada.”
Tens of thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in recent days to escape the West Coast fires that have been called “unprecedented” as high winds fan the flames amid drought conditions.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) expressed some cautious optimism on Thursday, saying a “We’re encouraged that the wind activity appears to be dying down. The rest of the week looks a little more favorable.”