Wildfires rage in California, Oregon and Washington

23 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:12 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

There are nearly 100 wildfires burning in the West

From CNN’s Joe Sutton

The number of wildfires in the western United States continues to increase daily. 

Yesterday, the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reported 87 large fires were burning across the country. Today that number has increased to 96.

These fires have now scorched 3,466,194 acres, the NIFC said.

4:38 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Wildfires are creating orange skies around California

Multiple wildfires have been burning across the state of California, and in some areas, the blazes have produced eerie orange skies.

Here's what it looked like at Bidwell Bar Bridge in Lake Oroville, where the Bear Fire is burning, earlier today:

In San Francisco, smoke mixed with the marine layer, blanketing the city's skyline in darkness and an orange glow. It's seen here from Treasure Island today:

Philip Pacheco/Getty Images
Philip Pacheco/Getty Images

And cars drive in Concord, California, drove below an orange sky filled with wildfire smoke:

Brittany Hosea-Small/AFP via Getty Images
Brittany Hosea-Small/AFP via Getty Images

4:37 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed by wildfires in Oregon

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that her state is experiencing “unprecedented fire with significant damage and devastating consequences across the entire state” at a news conference today.

“This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state's history,” Brown added.

The governor said that hundreds of hundreds of homes have been lost. State officials are continuing to carry out mass evacuations across the entire state, she said.

“Early reports indicate that the towns of Detroit in central Oregon, Blue River and Vida in Lane County, and Phoenix and Talent in Southern Oregon, are substantially destroyed," Brown said. 

The governor said weather conditions are making the situation worse as crews fight the fires.

”Winds continue to feed these fires and push them into our towns and cities,” she said.

3:54 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Wildfire smoke can be hazardous to your health. Here's why.

As wildfires burn up and down the US West Coast, the National Weather Service in Sacramento is warning residents of the health hazards smoke can cause.

Here's why wildfire smoke can make you sick: Wildfire smoke includes particles from burning vegetation and building materials mixed with gases. If your eyes feel like they're stinging, smoke exposure could also be inflicting other damage. Particles could be getting into your respiratory system. 

Exposure can cause chest pain, a fast heartbeat or wheezing or bring on an asthma attack. Besides coughing and trouble breathing, many people experience symptoms similar to a sinus infection, such as headaches, sore throat, a runny nose and even tiredness, according to the CDC. 

Wildfire smoke can be especially harmful to the elderly, pregnant women, children and those with chronic heart and lung diseases. Because children breathe more air per pound of body weight than adults and their airways are still developing, they may experience more severe symptoms. 

Those with asthma or lung disease should consult their doctors about navigating situations like this. Some people may even experience illnesses like bronchitis due to the fine particles, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

3:32 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

All California national forests ordered to close due to "monumental wildfire threat"

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

Flames from the Creek Fire are seen along a road just outside of Shaver Lake, California, in the Sierra National Forest on September 7.
Flames from the Creek Fire are seen along a road just outside of Shaver Lake, California, in the Sierra National Forest on September 7. Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

All 18 national forests in California have now been ordered to close due to the “explosive growth” of ongoing wildfires, according to a notice from the Forest Service.

“The number of large fires and extreme fire behavior we are seeing across the State is historic,” said Regional Forester Randy Moore. “These temporary closures are necessary to protect the public and firefighter, and we will keep them in place until conditions improve and we are confident that National Forest visitors can recreate safely. I ask all Californians and visitors to take these closures and evacuations seriously for their own safety and to allow our firefighters to focus on the mission of safely suppressing these fires.”

The temporary closures encompass over 20 million acres of forest land across the state.

Eight national forests were ordered to close on Monday in Southern and Central California. Today, the remaining 10 forests will be closed to the public starting at 5 p.m. 

The additional closures include the Tahoe National Forest and Tahoe Basin Management Unit, as well as the Eldorado, Lassen, Klamath, Mendocino, Modoc, Six Rivers, Plumas, and Shasta-Trinity National forests.

3:29 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

Portion of Paradise, California, under evacuation warning

From CNN's Stella Chan

Part of the Northern California town of Paradise — the site of 2018’s deadly Camp Fire— is under an evacuation warning due to yet another fire in the Golden State.

The massive North Complex Fire is prompting the town to issue a warning for zone 14, east of Pentz Road, according to a post on the Butte County Sheriff’s Facebook page.

Warnings have also been issued for the Concow area.

2:56 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

35 evacuation orders have been issued near Portland

From CNN’s Konstantin Toropin

Clackamas County in Oregon has issued 35 evacuation orders since Tuesday, Nancy Bush, the director of the country’s disaster management department, said at a news conference today.

The county, which contains several Portland suburbs and is just to the southeast of the city, has been battling several wildfires this week and declared a state of emergency yesterday.

“We have issued 35 evacuation orders and we have reached over 16,000 contacts because of evacuation orders,” Bush said at the news conference provided to CNN by affiliate KPTV.

However, Bush did caution that the evacuation system has a potential to contact people more than once.

1:48 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

California firefighters have contained 20% of blaze sparked by gender reveal party

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The El Dorado Fire burns a hillside near Yucaipa in the San Bernardino National Forest, California, on September 7.
The El Dorado Fire burns a hillside near Yucaipa in the San Bernardino National Forest, California, on September 7. Kyle Grillot/EPA-EFE/Shuttestock

Fire crews in Southern California are making slow but steady progress on a wildfire sparked by a pyrotechnic device at a gender reveal party.

Containment of the El Dorado Fire near Yucaipa has grown to 20%, while the area burned grew just slightly over the last day to 11,479 acres.

Residents under evacuation orders and warnings are being cautioned that vegetation is very dry and winds could change at any time. Officials are pleading with them to be patient and vigilant. The area remains under a Red Flag Warning, as weather is prime for wild land to burn.

“The potential for a terrain driven fire with a rapid rate of spread remains a threat as wind direction and canyons get into alignment today. Aircraft will be over the fire today working to extinguish active burning inside of the fire perimeter, however, aircraft might be unable to fly due to wind and visibility,” a release from the incident command states.

Damage assessment continues and teams are working to determine the number of buildings destroyed and damaged.

Ten planes and helicopters are dropping water and fire retardant from the air and more than 150 crews are working to extinguish the wildfire on the ground. In all, nearly 1,000 fire personnel are assigned to this blaze alone.

1:32 p.m. ET, September 9, 2020

More than 2.5 millions acres have been scorched in California fires

From CNN's Stella Chan

Firefighters watch the Bear Fire approach in Oroville, California, on September 9.
Firefighters watch the Bear Fire approach in Oroville, California, on September 9. Noah Berger/AP

Fires in California have scorched more than 2.5 million acres and firefighters continue to battle 28 major fires in the Golden State.

“Yesterday and overnight, wind conditions allowed many fires to grow significantly with extreme fire behavior. While containment on many of last month’s lightning fires grows closer, several new wildfires ignited and were fanned by strong gusty winds,” the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said in a news release Wednesday.

Here's the latest on the fires burning in California: 

  • The Creek Fire rages out of control in Fresno County and has charred 163,138 acres. The fire destroyed at least 60 single residences, 20 minor structures, and two commercial structures.
  • The Valley Fire in San Diego County is 17,565 acres and 11% contained. At least two people were injured and 37 structures are destroyed. It is not clear how many are homes.
  • The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest in Southern California has scorched 11,456 acres and is 0% contained. Foothill communities of Pasadena, Monrovia, Arcadia, Altadena, Duarte, and others are under an evacuation warning.
  • The 11,479-acre El Dorado Fire, sparked by a botched gender reveal party in San Bernardino County, is 19% contained.
  • The Dolan Fire near Big Sur is 93,554 acres and 20% contained. On Tuesday, 14 firefighter deployed fire shelters while battling the blaze. Three were injured, one critically. All firefighters were taken to a hospital in Fresno for treatment and are in stable condition, according to fire officials.