Deadly windblown wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest destroyed hundreds of homes in Oregon, the governor said Wednesday, warning it could be the greatest loss of life and property from wildfire in state history. The blazes from the top of the state to the California border caused highway closures and smoky skies and had firefighers struggling to contain and douse flames fanned by 50mph wind gusts, the AP reports. Officials in some western Oregon communities gave residents “go now” orders to evacuate, meaning they had minutes to flee their homes. Fires were burning in a large swath of Washington state and Oregon that rarely experiences such intense wildfire activity because of the Pacific Northwest's cool and wet climate.
Several deaths were reported, including a 1-year-old boy in Washington state. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said communities have been “substantially destroyed” and warned there could be numerous fatalities. In northern California, a wildfire threatened thousands of homes Thursday after winds whipped it into a monster that incinerated houses in a small mountain community and killed at least three people. Several other people have been critically burned and hundreds, if not thousands, of homes and other buildings are believed to have been damaged or destroyed by the North Complex fire northeast of San Francisco, authorities said. Some 20,000 people were under evacuation orders or warnings in Plumas, Yuba and Butte counties.
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