Dozens of extreme, wind-driven wildfires burned through forests and towns in U.S. West Coast states on Thursday, destroying hundreds of homes, killing at least nine people and forcing hundreds of thousands to flee, authorities said.
As wildfires continue to blaze across the U.S West Coast, the red haze of the flames faded in some parts of California on Thursday (September 10), after hundreds were evacuated and waited for news of the extent of the destruction.
At an evacuation center in Fresno, retirees John and Val Maylone spoke of their race against the flames early on Tuesday: "We had four hours to pack up our pets and a few medications and things like that that are essential.
The fire is impending upon us.
We left three of our cats behind that we're now worried." Thousands have been displaced in California and Washington State and in neighbouring Oregon, which bore the brunt of nearly 100 major fires, the number of people ordered to evacuate climbed to half a million on Thursday (September 10) -- that's an eighth of the state's population.
The state's governor, Kate Brown: "In the last 10 years, we see an average of 500,000 acres burn in an entire year.
We've seen that nearly double in the past three days." Around 3,000 firefighters have been battling the flames and officials say about twice as many personnel are needed to bring them under control.
At least five communities in Oregon have been destroyed and the death toll continues to rise.
Over 48 hours, four died from the fires in California, another four were killed in Oregon, and police reported that a 1-year-old boy died in Washington.