The latest news on wildfires in the western US (always local):
CHICO, California – Search and rescue officers found three more bodies in the rubble of a fire in Northern California, increasing the death toll in that fire to 12 and the total deaths in recent state fires to 22.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced additional deaths on Saturday, but did not provide any details. He said 13 people remain missing.
The fire, which broke out Tuesday night over Berry Creek and Feather Falls in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada northeast of San Francisco, destroyed the small town of Berry Creek and other mountain communities in the shadow of a 201
PORTLAND, Oregon – An Oregon sheriff says authorities have responded to reports that gunmen in rural areas were setting up roadblocks and demanding identification amid mounting tensions caused by the fires.
Mike Reese, sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon’s most populous county, said on Saturday that lawmakers told people the activity was illegal and the roads remained open. Reese’s sad authorities have put in extra patrols.
“The sheriff’s office will not tolerate illegal activities of any kind, including civilian roadblocks,” Reese said.
Earlier this week, authorities refuted rumors that anti-fascist activists were setting fires in Oregon.
BERRY CREEK, California – Search and rescue teams found a puppy in the rubble of a property destroyed by the deadliest fire in California this year.
The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said the puppy was covered in soot when he was found hiding Friday in what appear to be parts of a metal engine on a large property in Berry Creek, a small village in the foothills of the Sierra. Nevada northeast of San Francisco.
The puppy was taken to a vet’s office for treatment of minor burns.
Authorities later learned that the owner of the property had several dogs and was unable to catch them all before fleeing the fast-moving flames.
Megan McMann, a spokesperson for the sheriff’s office, says the deputies have temporarily called Trooper’s puppy until he can be reunited with his family.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since the lightning fires that started weeks ago merged into a monster that has largely destroyed the city. The search for 19 missing people continued.
SALEM, Oregon – The Oregon Fire Marshal resigned after being put on leave during a personnel investigation.
Oregon state police put Fire Marshal Jim Walker on leave Friday night and resigned Saturday.
In a press release Saturday, Superintendent of State Police Travis Hampton said only that a change of leadership is needed to address the “unprecedented crisis” caused by the fires.
Walker did not immediately return a Facebook message from the Associated Press seeking comment.
Mariana Ruiz-Temple, the deputy warrant officer of the state fire brigade, was appointed to replace him.
In a written statement Saturday, Governor Kate Brown said Ruiz-Temple has “led with grace, transparency and courage” and that it “embodies the experience Oregon needs to address this crisis.”
LYON, Oregon – A hero of the movement to preserve ancient forests in the Northwest has disappeared in one of the many fires that burn Oregon.
Oregonian / OregonLive reports 72-year-old George Atiyeh has not been seen since the Beachie Creek fire burned down his home near Lyon, southeast of Salem, last week. His daughter, Aniese Mitchell, posted on Facebook Friday night that the family was reporting him missing.
Atiyeh fought for years in the 1980s to stop the U.S. Forest Service from cutting down the area around Opal Creek, a pristine area in the Willamette National Forest known for its centuries-old trees, including a 270-foot tall Douglas fir. feet which is thought to be 1,000 years old. Federal legislation to protect the area was approved in 1996.
The Opal Creek area was hit by the same fire that destroyed Atiyeh’s home, but the extent of the damage is so far unknown because it remains inaccessible.
His daughter said she last spoke to him on Monday evening and that he was determined to stay because he didn’t believe he was in danger. He said the search teams were looking for him.
SACRAMENTO, California – A Californian woman killed in one of the state fires was known as an animal lover who often rescued stray cats and dogs.
Authorities confirmed Friday that Millicent Catarancuic, 77, died near her home in Berry Creek, California. Catarancuic’s niece, Zygy Roe-Zurz, said she loves animals and has four dogs and several cats on her five-acre property in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada northeast of San Francisco.
Zurz said Catarancuic was “sharp as a whip” and loved playing FreeCell, saying he could win the game in about 80 seconds.
Authorities say nine people died in the North Complex fire in Northern California. Zurz said his mother, Suzan Violet Zurz, and her uncle, Phil Rubel, also lived on the property and went missing.
Holly Catarancuic, Millicent Catarancuic’s daughter, said her mother lived in Berry Creek for about eight years. He said his mother had been very happy and the property was a “safe haven” for the family.
This item has been updated to correct a name: it is Suzan Violet Zurz, not Susan Zurs.
OREGON CITY, Oregon – A sheriff’s deputy in Oregon was put on leave after a video surfaced suggesting leftist activists had “caused hell” in creating fires – a claim that has been disproved. by the FBI.
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said he put the deputy on leave after learning of the video, which recorded the deputy referring to “antifa” and saying that people’s lives and property were at stake because “these guys have had some revenge”.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies in the Northwest claim to have investigated these reports and found them to be false.
The MP’s identity was not released immediately.
The sheriff said he would be on leave pending an investigation into inappropriate comments and policy violation.
Authorities say debunking conspiracy theories and disinformation steal valuable resources from local firefighters and police agencies working to fight fires and protect lives.
WASHINGTON – The White House announced Saturday that President Donald Trump will travel to California on Monday to receive a briefing on the devastating wildfires burning across the West Coast.
More than 20 people died in windswept flames in California, Oregon and Washington. In Oregon alone, authorities said more than 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers) had been burned in the past few days, nearly twice the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island.
Democratic governors of all three states said the destruction and speed of the fires were unprecedented and blamed climate change for worsening conditions.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee called fires “climate fires” rather than wildfires.
“This is not an act of God,” Inslee said. “This happened because we changed the climate”.
SAN FRANCISCO – Favorable weather conditions helped more than 16,000 firefighters fight 28 major wildfires across California on Saturday. Containment has increased across all fires, with some rapidly approaching full containment. However, the gusts of wind in the forecast for the far north of the state on Sunday have given the alarm of high danger of fire.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention says the fires have burned more than 3 million acres in California since the beginning of this year, killing 19 people and destroying more than 4,000 structures.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since the lightning fires that started weeks ago merged into a monster that largely destroyed Berry Creek, a small village in the Sierra Nevada foothills. northeast of San Francisco. There was concern that the death toll could rise as crews reach devastated areas. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office said 19 people were missing.
LYONS, Oregon – Firefighters in Oregon reported making progress on two wildfires burning on opposite sides of the state as the high temperatures and windy conditions that plagued them earlier in the week subsided.
Authorities reported Saturday morning that the Almeda fire in southern Oregon near the California state line was 50% contained and barely grew overnight. That fire had destroyed about 700 structures.
In northern Oregon, crews were able to establish locations to limit the spread of the larger Beachie Creek Fire in Clackamas County south of Portland. They also said better night weather limited the fire’s growth. There were still no estimates of damage from that fire as crews continue to assess the situation.
Authorities said more than 1,500 square miles (3,880 square kilometers) had been burned in Oregon in the past few days, nearly twice the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island.
SALEM, Oregon – The Oregon state field marshal was placed on paid administrative leave amidst devastating fires.
State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton made the announcement Saturday in a press release, saying the “unprecedented crisis” required an urgent response – and that required a change of leadership.
Fire Marshal Jim Walker was put on leave and replaced on an acting basis by Mariana Ruiz-Temple, the deputy fire marshal of the state.
Walker had been the fire marshal since 2014.
SALEM, Oregon – Oregon officials are urging employers to stop or delay outdoor work, including construction and harvesting, with the smoke from the fires blanketing the region.
The Pacific Northwest continues to have the most unhealthy air in the world due to fires in California, Washington and Oregon.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Oregon Health Authority say employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers when air quality becomes unhealthy. This may include disrupting outdoor work, leaving workers with underlying health conditions at home, and providing N95 masks, as the masks many workers have worn to protect themselves from COVID do not protect against smoke particles.
“During this incredibly demanding and evolving emergency, we are encouraging employers, especially those with outdoor operations, to take all reasonable and necessary precautions and measures to ensure the safety of their employees,” said Michael Wood , administrator of Oregon OSHA, in a press release.