An overwhelming series of fierce, wind-driven wildfires in Oregon have all but destroyed five small towns, leaving a potentially high death toll in their wake, Governor Kate Brown said on Wednesday, as initial casualty reports come in.

Winds of up to 50 miles per hour sent blazes moving tens of miles within hours, engulfing hundreds of homes as firefighters fought at least 35 large blazes across Oregon.

The town of Detroit in the Santiam Valley, as well as Blue River and Vida, and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon, were substantially destroyed, Governor Kate Brown said during a press conference.

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

Wildfires in Clackamas County have destroyed 22 houses and structures since Sunday night and are threatening more than 600 other houses and structures as thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes. The entire county is under some level of evacuation warning, with about half the county, including Estacada and parts of Molalla, under a Level 3 evacuation order, meaning residents are asked to leave immediately.

“Everyone must be on high alert,” Brown said. 

The blazes are extremely destructive around Medford, in southern Oregon, and near the state capital of Salem.

At least three people were killed in Oregon fires and a small child died in blazes in Washington state. Brown said some communities were substantially damaged, with “hundreds of homes lost.”

4 replies
  1. Jeannette
    Jeannette says:

    I blame all these Forrest fires on the jerk tree huggers that got laws passed so we can no longer clean out the old debris from our Oregon Forrest floors!!! I also blame Kate Brown for not sending in drop helicopters to extinguish smoldering embers that had been smoldering for a week before the high winds kicked in and made it into a raging Forrest fire!!!

    • Stephanie carpenter
      Stephanie carpenter says:

      I wish life was that simple. To were we can blame each other for horrific events and it will make all things better. Unfortunately the fires are do to climate change. I too thought for a moment about the cleaning of are forest vs. a healthy habitat for salmon and other animals who live off fish. In the field of environmental science, you have different people with different point of views. Just like life. However, scientists are able to put their politics to the side and religion. So they can look thru the facts and make a balanced decision. I would hope that during a pandemic and wild fires that we all could be more like scientists and put are politics and religion to the side. So then we can focus on love and compassion for are neighbors who may have different politics then us. I’m a daughter of the American revolution. I’m a descendant from Muslim Africans too. Yet, I look European American and I celebrate Christmas. However I feel a have connection to Muslims and African Americans. Nothing is what it seems my new friend. May love and compassion find its way into your heart. Take care.


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