Massive smoke from wildfire in the US can be seen in Europe

Katie Ramirez
September 18, 2020

Those incendiary conditions gave way over the weekend to cooler, moister weather and calmer winds, enabling tired firefighters to gain ground in efforts to outflank blazes that had burned largely unchecked last week.

"Climate change sucks." This was the text I sent to a friend last Monday as we griped about the many fires burning throughout the West - from OR and Washington to Idaho and my home state of California.

The fires roared to life in California in mid-August, and erupted across OR and Washington around Labor Day last week, many of them sparked by catastrophic lightning storms and stoked by record-breaking heat waves and bouts of howling winds.

Several small towns have largely been incinerated, with thousands of dwellings destroyed and at least 34 lives lost - 25 in California, eight in OR and one in Washington.

Almost 4,000 evacuees remained displaced, according to the American Red Cross.

On the other side of the country, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden addressed these disasters and others, and their link to human-caused climate change. Parts of central OR were expecting gusts up to 35 miles per hour Wednesday afternoon that could contribute to a "significant spread" of new and existing fires, the National Weather Service in Medford, Ore., said.

Wade Crowfoot, Gov. Gavin Newsom's (D) secretary for natural resources, told Trump that climate change is real, and "if we ignore that science and sort of put our head in the sand and think it's all about vegetation management, we're not going to succeed together protecting Californians".

The West Coast wildfires, which officials and scientists have described as unprecedented in scope and ferocity, have filled the region's skies with smoke and soot, compounding a public health crisis already posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

About 250 Marines and sailors are expected to be deployed to Central California to assist firefighters battling the Creek Fire, U.S. military officials said. The wildfires started with a lightning storm, followed by wind.

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For much of the summer, Biden held mostly virtual events from his home in DE , drawing criticism from Trump that he was "hiding". Joe Manchin said he encouraged Biden to remind workers how much he has been on their side during his many years in government.

The former vice president claimed that if the president remains in the office for another four years, they will have "more of America ablaze". They have not discussed legislation like the 2002 forest management bill created to "make seven million acres of forests safer from fires" that waskilled by environmental lobbyists.

Just before his briefing, Trump was asked by a reporter what role climate change was playing in the fires. CalFire said more than 17,400 firefighters were deployed against 26 fires in the most populous USA state.

Although a cold front drifting in from the north and west on Thursday will likely push the smoke away from our region, the front will bring some rain clouds and scattered showers, Iovino said.

The August Complex Fire in Mendocino County, the state's largest-ever, continued growing Wednesday.

"This is my backyard, we're fighting for our homes and families up here", Hansen said as he and a crew rested outside his parents' farmhouse outside of Molalla.

"We obviously feel very strongly the hots are getting hotter", Newsom said.

We've made some efforts to reduce fire risk through thinning and prescribed fire, but the pace and scale has been inadequate. "Even when I have slept, I'm dreaming of fire".

In the worst-hit state of California, authorities said 17,000 firefighters were battling 25 major fires, with 25 killed, while hundreds of thousands of people had been evacuated, and nearly 8,000 homes and structures incinerated.

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