Three people were found dead after a massive lightning-sparked wildfire in California on Wednesday, taking the toll from the devastating spate of wildfires in the United States this year to at least 11, Reuters reported.
A one-year-old boy was killed in the Cold Springs Fire in northern Washington, according to The New York Times reported. A 12-year-old boy, identified as Wyatt Tofte, and his grandmother, Peggy Mosso, died near Lyons, Oregon, according to the news station KOIN
In southern California, a massive wildfire has scorched more than 10,000 acres of land since September 5 morning. It is one of 25 major blazes that firefighters are currently battling across California, where wildfires have burned at least 2.2 million acres this year so far, according to the California Fire Department.
Around 14,000 firefighters are fighting the wildfires across the state, as strong winds are blowing smoke and ash amid a historic heatwave, according to BBC. On Thursday, a plume of smoke from wildfires descended on the San Francisco area, causing the sky over the region to turn crimson.
Helicopters have been used in recent days to rescue hundreds of people stranded in the burning Sierra National Forest, where a fire has destroyed 365 buildings, including at least 45 homes, according to AP.
In Oroville, thousands of people were ordered to evacuate. The fire also spread through the town of Paradise that was devastated just two years ago by the deadliest blaze in state’s history. At least 85 people had lost their lives and nearly 19,000 buildings were destroyed in the fire on November 8, 2018.
Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California, Los Angeles, said the fire had conservatively burned about 1,036 square kilometers in 24 hours. “The unbelievable rates of spread now being observed on these fires it is historically unprecedented,” he said.
Swain added “extremely dense” and “tall smoke plumes” were “almost completely blocking out the sun”.
In Oregon, winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour sent flames racing, engulfing hundreds of homes as firefighters fought at least 35 large blazes. Several Oregon communities, including the town of Detroit in the Santiam Valley and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon, were substantially destroyed, Governor Kate Brown said. “This could be the greatest loss in human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” Brown added.