By Vatican News
Dozens of active wildfires, driven by unprecedented temperatures and high winds, have caused devastation across California and other states in the western United States.
This year alone, more than 2.2 million acres have been scorched since the start of the wildfire season, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE). The wildfire season continues for four more months.
CALFIRE said that as of Tuesday, there have been eight fatalities and over 3,300 structures destroyed. Currently, it has placed most of the state under a Red Flag Warning, including the Eastern Sierras, portions of the Bay area, and the Mojave Desert, as well as the Santa Barbara, Ventura and Los Angeles mountains.
The fires have also led to power outages. Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) had to shut off power to residents in over 22 counties in California to prevent sparks from its equipment from setting off more fires.
So far, nearly 14,000 firefighters have been deployed to the battle lines to fight the fires. Helicopter crews and emergency responders are also actively involved in evacuating affected areas.
Oregon, Washington affected
California’s neighboring states on the West Coast have also been affected by the fast-moving fires.
In Oregon, several communities were evacuated on Tuesday as strong gusts fueled at least seven fires which scorched several structures in their wake and caused catastrophic damage. The advancing fires have endangered populated areas east of Salem and Eugene in the northwest region of the state.
Fires have also been reported in parts of Washington state. On Monday, flames destroyed about 80 percent of the structures in Malden, a small town in Whitman county. There are also reports of wildfires spreading towards parts of Yakima, Douglas and Okanogan counties.