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Oregon's wildfires force mass evacuations

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics - Duration: 01:55s - Published
Oregon's wildfires force mass evacuations

Oregon's wildfires force mass evacuations

Deadly wildfires raging across Oregon kept half a million people under evacuation alert on Saturday even as weary firefighters took advantage of improved weather to go on the offensive against the blazes.

This report produced by Jonah Green.

DRIVER: "Oh my God..." Deadly wildfires raging across Oregon kept half a million people under evacuation alert on Saturday even as weary firefighters took advantage of improved weather to go on the offensive against the blazes.

The fires have destroyed thousands of homes in days, making Oregon the latest epicenter in a larger summer outbreak of fires sweeping the western United States, collectively scorching a landscape the size of New Jersey and killing at least 25 people.

Oregon officials said disaster teams searching the scorched ruins of a half-dozen small towns laid to waste were bracing to encounter possible "mass fatality incidents." NEWSOM: "This is a climate damn emergency.

This is real." Standing amid charred ruins Friday, California Governor Gavin Newsom said this year's devastating wildfires should end the debate on climate change.

"This is real and it's happening.

This is the perfect storm." Scientists say global warming has also contributed to extremes in wet and dry seasons, causing vegetation to flourish then dry out, leaving more abundant fuel for wildfires.

In southern Oregon, an apocalyptic scene of charred houses and melted cars stretched for miles along Highway 99 south of Medford through the neighboring towns of Phoenix and Talent.

Molalla, a community about 25 miles south of downtown Portland, was an ash-covered ghost town.

The Pacific Northwest as a whole has borne the brunt of an incendiary onslaught that began around Labor Day, darkening the sky with smoke and ash that has beset northern California, Oregon and Washington with some of the world's worst air-quality levels.

After days of hot, windy weather, a glimmer of hope arrived in the form of calmer winds blowing in from the ocean, bringing cooler, moister conditions that helped firefighters make headway against blazes that had burned largely unchecked earlier in the week.




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