Western wildfires live updates: Oregon officials preparing for ‘mass fatality event’

Western wildfires: What you need to know

Wildfires continued ravaging portions of the western United States on Friday, stoked by gusty winds and dry conditions.

Although some weather relief appears to be en route in the coming days, millions of acres have already burned. Homes and businesses have been engulfed, and injuries to both residents and first responders continue mounting. More than a dozen deaths, including at least 10 in California, have been reported.

Here are the latest updates:

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Creek Fire now at 6% containment

Update 10:37 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: The Creek Fire in California has burned 182,225 acres but has 6% containment, fire officials said. At least 377 structures have been damaged or destroyed, according to KFSN. During a briefing Friday evening, officials said there are now 1,811 firefighters battling the Creek Fire. One person has been arrested for driving through a roadblock, the television station reported.

Evacuations lifted for Valley Fire near San Diego

Update 9:22 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: Firefighters were beginning to make progress on the Valley Fire that was burning in eastern San Diego County, KGTV reported.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, crews had 55% containment, according to Cal Fire.

The Valley Fire has scorched 17,665 acres, destroyed 30 residences and 29 auxiliary structures and damaged 11 other buildings, KGTV reported.

On Friday, all evacuation orders, warnings, and road closures were lifted, according to Cal Fire.

1 person killed in Oregon’s Holiday Farm Fire

Update 8:58 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: Firefighters in Oregon found a person dead in a home as the battled the Holiday Farm Fire, according to the Lane County Sheriff’s Office.

“We are saddened to report that on 9/11/2020, fire personnel were in the area of Goodpasture Road in Vida when they located a deceased person in a residence within the perimeter of the Holiday Farm Fire,” the sheriff’s office said. “First responders are working with the Medical Examiner’s Office to identify the deceased, which may take some time. After the person has been identified, we will notify next of kin and afford them the opportunity to notify additional family and friends prior to releasing the person’s name.”

The Lane County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death with the help of the Lane County Medical Examiner’s Office, according to KVAL.

California law allows inmate firefighters to work professionally after serving time

Update 5:53 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Friday afternoon to reform the state’s inmate firefighter program. The bill allows California inmates who were professional firefighters to work again after they successfully completed their prison time, KGO reported.

“Inmates who have stood on the frontlines, battling historic fires should not be denied the right to later become a professional firefighter,” Newsom tweeted.

Inmates convicted of murder, kidnapping, rape, lewd acts on a child, felonies punishable by death, sex offense requiring registration and arson would be ineligible, according to KGO.

Officials in Oregon preparing for ‘mass fatality event’

Update 4:56 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: During a news conference Friday, Oregon’s director of the Office of Emergency Management said state officials are preparing for a “mass fatality” event after wildfires have consumed more than 1 million acres.

egon officials are preparing for a “mass fatality event” after Oregon wildfires have been over 1 million acres this week.

“We know we’re dealing with fire-related deaths and we’re preparing for a mass fatality event based on what we know and the number of structures lost," Andrew Phelps said. “This is going to be a long term recovery operation. The long term recovery is going to last years.”

Gov. Kate Brown said 40,000 people in the state have been evacuated and 500,000 were in evacuation zones.

“We are doing everything we can to fight these fires,” Brown said.

Malden, Massachusetts officials announce plans to help namesake city devastated by fire in Washington

Update 2:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: Officials with the City of Malden in Massachusetts on Thursday announced a partnership with its fire department to help people in Malden, Washington who have been displaced by wildfires.

Malden, Wash. is receiving help from its namesake city in Massachusetts ❤️

Posted by KIRO 7 News on Friday, September 11, 2020

Officials with the Washington town have said that only 27 of Malden’s 130 homes remained standing after a blaze swept through the area, KIRO-TV reported.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” officials said, according to KIRO-TV.

The town, which had a population of 203 during the 2010 U.S. Census, was incorporated in 1909 as a railway station stop and named after Malden, Massachusetts, officials in the East Coast city said.

“The scale of this disaster has devastated the community,” Malden, Massachusetts, officials said. “As a result, a number of fundraising efforts are underway, and our city will be working to assist the many victims of our namesake city.”

The City of Malden is partnering with the Malden Fire Department to help support the victims of the devastating fires...

Posted by City of Malden (Official) on Thursday, September 10, 2020

19 killed in California wildfires this year

Update 2:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: At least 19 people have died in California due to wildfires in the state this year, which have burned more than 3.1 million acres, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

“This year’s acres burned is 26 times higher than the acres burned in 2019 for the same time period, and the combined amount of acres burned is larger than the State of Connecticut,” Cal Fire officials said.

Authorities noted Friday that a smoke layer covering much of Northern California would help to keep temperatures cooler into the weekend. Humidity from an offshore flow was expected to further dampen fire conditions next week.

California wildfire smoke reaches Europe

Update 1:45 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: Smoke from the California wildfires has spread to hover Europe on Friday, according to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites.

Smoke descends on Washington state

Update 12:30 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: Winds are sending thick smoke over Oregon and southwest Washington further north into the Puget Sound region.

Forecasters with KIRO-TV reported air quality would likely get worse -- ranking from unhealthy to very unhealthy -- later Friday into Saturday morning. The smoke was expected to linger until at least Sunday.

At least 20 dead in California, Oregon, Washington wildfires, report says

Update 12:10 p.m. EDT Sept. 11: At least 20 people have died as wildfires continue to blaze across parts of California, Oregon and Washington, according to The Guardian.

Wildfires have burned more than 3.1 million acres in California alone this year, officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Thursday. The agency reported that a dozen people have died in fires this year across the state.

“This year’s fire season has been a record-breaking year, in not only the total amount of acres burned, but 6 of the top 20 largest wildfires in California history have occurred in 2020,” according to Cal Fire.

Officials with the Oregon State Fire Marshal’s Office told The Oregonian on Thursday that two people have died in the Almeda Fire. Two others, a 12-year-old boy identified by family as Wyatt Tofte and his grandmother, Peggy Mosso, died Wednesday in the Santiam County Fire, KGW reported.

In Washington, at least one person -- a 1-year-old child -- has died, according to officials.

Air quality in Portland, Oregon, worst in the world due to wildfire smoke

Update 11:50 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: The air quality in Portland, Oregon was the worst in any major city in the world Friday morning as smoke from wildfires raging on the West Coast hung over the city, according to The Oregonian.

Air quality monitoring website IQAir listed Portland as the worst city in terms of air quality Friday morning, followed by San Francisco and Seattle.

About 10% of forest on Cascade west slopes in northwest Oregon have burned, meteorologist estimate

Update 10:35 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: Forecasters with the National Weather Service’s Portland office estimated Friday that about 10% of the forest on the west slopes of the Cascade Mountains in northwest Oregon have burned since Monday.

On Thursday, Gov. Kate Brown said that nearly a million acres have been burned by fires in the state, according to KEZI. Towns have been destroyed and at least three people.

Meteorologists on Friday noted that worst fire weather conditions have passed.

Trump approves emergency declaration for Oregon

Update 9:25 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: President Donald Trump on Thursday declared a state of emergency in Oregon as fires continued to ravage the state.

The declaration will free up federal funds to assist people impacted by the ongoing blazes. U.S. Rep. Peter Defazio, D-Ore., said in a news release that some of the funds would go toward providing temporary housing for displaced evacuees.

“Oregon is facing an unprecedented crisis, and this decision to declare an emergency comes not a moment too soon,” said DeFazio.

“With tens of thousands of Oregonians—who are already dealing with public health concerns and economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic—forced to evacuate their homes, it’s imperative that the state has the resources it needs to provide safe temporary housing for all who need it.”

More than 900,000 acres have burned in recent days across Oregon, according to KEZI.

On Thursday, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management reported that the number of people evacuated statewide because of fires had climbed to an estimated 500,000 — more than 10 percent of the 4.2 million people in the state.

‘We are living in a new Washington,’ governor says

Update 9 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued a proclamation Thursday aimed at providing aid to families impacted by the wildfires that have burned hundreds of thousands of acres in the state, KIRO-TV reported.

Fires in eastern and central Washington previously prompted the governor to issue a statewide emergency proclamation, but wildfires have only gotten worse since. According to KIRO-TV, about 480,000 acres have burned in Washington since Monday.

Among the towns hardest hit was Malden in eastern Washington. The town’s mayor said that only 27 of Malden’s 130 homes were left standing after a blaze swept through the area, KIRO-TV reported.

Malden’s mayor says of 130 homes, only 27 remain.

Posted by KIRO 7 News on Thursday, September 10, 2020

“We are living in a new Washington. We’re living in a Washington with explosive fire seasons,” Inslee said, according to KIRO-TV. “We talk about this as a wildfire. I think we need to start thinking about this as a climate fire because that’s what makes them so explosive.”

Fires in the state have claimed at least one life. Officials confirmed a 1-year-old child was found dead Wednesday morning as his family tried to flee from the Cold Springs Fire in Okanogan.

Rumor about antifa arrests in Oregon is false, officials say

Update 6:04 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: Law enforcement officials in Oregon are urging residents not to spread a false rumor that anti-fascists have been charged in connection with setting wildfires in the state.

According to the Oregonian, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office took to Facebook on Thursday after pundits and social media users incorrectly claimed that deputies had arrested six members of antifa in connection with the blazes.

“Rumors spread just like wildfire, and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that six antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON,” the post read. “THIS IS NOT TRUE! Unfortunately, people are spreading this rumor, and it is causing problems.”

The department went on to say people should stop spreading rumors and “follow official sources of information, such as local emergency response websites and pages, government websites and pages, and local, reputable news outlets.”

Remember when we said to follow official sources only. Remember when we said rumors make this already difficult incident...

Posted by Douglas County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, September 10, 2020

Meanwhile, Molalla police clarified that a Wednesday post urging people to report possible looting had nothing to do with anti-fascists.

“This is about possible looters, not antifa or setting of fires,” the department wrote in an update to the post early Thursday. “There has been NO antifa in town as of this posting at 2 a.m. [PDT Thursday]. Please, folks, stay calm and use common sense. Stay inside or leave the area.”

EDIT/CLARIFICATION: This is about possible looters, not antifa or setting of fires. There has been NO antifa in town...

Posted by Molalla Police Department on Wednesday, September 9, 2020

California’s Bobcat Fire burns nearly 24K acres, is 6% contained

Published 1:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 11: Southern California’s Bobcat Fire, located in the Angeles National Forest, remains at 23,890 acres with 6% containment, the Los Angeles County Fire Department tweeted late Thursday.

Several cities, including Duarte, Bradbury, Monrovia, Arcadia, Sierra Madre, Pasadena and Altadena, are under evacuation warnings, the Fire Department added.

The Angeles National Forest also shared photos of Los Angeles County Blackhawks working to contain the massive blaze.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.