At least six people were killed in several wildfires in the western part of the United States on Wednesday. In the state of Oregon, five villages have been destroyed, the governor expects many deaths there too.
In the state of California, 64,000 people have to be evacuated, most of them north of the densely populated city of Sacramento. The conflagration that started on August 17 has now destroyed 80 hectares of land. In that area, three people were killed in a re-flare-up that seemed under control on Wednesday.
All eighteen California wildlife parks have to close to visitors because of the wildfires. It concerns an area of about 8 million hectares spread across California (about twice the surface area of the Netherlands).
In Oregon, north of California, five villages and hundreds of homes have been destroyed by the fire sparked by winds of up to 50 miles per hour. The state’s 35 hot spots could cause “the greatest loss of life in the state ever to wildfire,” said Oregon Governor Kate Brown. In Lyons, about 50 miles south of the city of Portland, a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother were killed in the flames.
Wildfires are also raging in the states of Arizona, Nevada and Washington. In Washington State, a one-year-old boy died while he and his parents tried to flee the fire.
According to climate scientists, global warming has led to both the wet season and the dry season in the western US becoming increasingly extreme. Vegetation that has grown profusely during the wet period dries up, causing fierce fires.