Story at a glance
- Fire officials say 36 fires are currently active and more than 854,000 acres have burned.
- Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) declared a state of emergency on Thursday night.
- President Trump approved Oregon’s request for an emergency declaration.
Deadly wildfires tearing through northwest Oregon have forced 500,000 residents to evacuate their homes — more than 10 percent of the state’s population — and that number is expected to continue to grow, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said on Thursday.
Record-breaking wildfires continue to move at an alarming pace through the state and are threatening suburbs in Portland. About three dozen fires are currently active and more than 863,000 acres have been burned. At least 10 of the wildfires were completely uncontained as of Friday and hundreds of homes have been destroyed.
At least four people have died in the fires, including a 12-year-old boy found with his grandmother and dog after attempting to escape a fire south of Portland in Marion County.
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) declared a state of emergency on Thursday night as residents of Molalla, a town approximately 30 miles south of Portland, evacuated the area to escape approaching blazes.
The Riverside Fire burning south of Portland tore through more than 130,000 acres by Friday morning.
President Trump approved Oregon’s request for an emergency declaration which would include federal aid from FEMA to provide temporary housing for displaced evacuees and additional firefighting resources.
“I wish the 2020 wildfires were an anomaly - but this will not be a one - time event. Unfortunately, it is a bellwether of the future. We are seeing the devastating effects of climate change in Oregon, on the entire West Coast, and throughout the world,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) said via Twitter Thursday.
Brown on Wednesday warned that wind-fanned wildfires moving across the state will lead to the greatest loss of property and lives from wildfires in the state’s history, saying that the state is experiencing the worst fire conditions in three decades as dry air, dry brush and hot winds persist.
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