Fires without precedent rage in usually cool, wet Northwest

Several deaths reported, including a 1-year-old boy, as fires destroy communities in multiple states.


National News

September 10, 2020 - 9:49 AM

A home burns during the Bear fire, part of the North Lightning Complex fires in California on Sept. 9. Photo by (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Numerous wildfires burned in Oregon’s forested valleys and along the coast, destroying hundreds of homes and causing mass evacuations. Farther north, flames devoured buildings and huge tracts of land in Washington state.

Officials said the number of simultaneous fires and perhaps the damage caused was unprecedented. Several deaths were reported, including a 1-year-old boy in Washington state. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said communities have been “substantially destroyed” and warned there could be numerous fatalities.

Graphic showing how Santa Ana winds form.

Because of its cool, wet climate, the Pacific Northwest rarely experiences such intense fire activity. But climate change driven by human-caused greenhouse gases is expected to keep warming the region, with most models predicting drier summers, according to the College of the Environment at the University of Washington.

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