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Wildfires have now claimed 28 lives in California, Oregon and Washington

Officials bracing for more casualties
Wildfires have now claimed 25 lives in California, Oregon and Washington
Posted at 6:24 AM, Sep 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-13 08:53:54-04

Wildfires continue to ravage the western United States, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, where 28 people have died and officials are bracing for more death.

Hundreds of thousands of acres are currently burning in about 100 fires in 13 western states, but areas of Northern California and Oregon have seen unprecedented and catastrophic damage this week.

Since mid-Auhust least 19 people have died in California — nine alone in the North Complex Fire that's currently burning north of Sacramento. Eight people have now been killed in Oregon, and with dozens of people still missing, officials are expecting more casualties.

"We know we're dealing with fire-related death, and we're preparing for a mass fatality incident, based on what we know," said Andrew Phelps, the director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

A one-year-old boy was also killed in Washington state this week.

USA Today reports that cooler weather this weekend may aid firefighters. But in Oregon, officials fear that two large fires could merge and begin threatening an area near Portland — the state's largest city. More than 500,000 people have already been evacuated, a number representing about 10% of the state's population.