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Thousands of firefighters continue to battle California wildfires that have killed 24 people in less than a month

The beautiful American West is burning. Nearly five million acres have burned. Firefighters can't keep up. So what else can Americans do to help?

Posted: Sep 14, 2020 6:11 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2020 6:11 AM

Firefighters in California have been battling multiple fires throughout the state for nearly a month as hot, dry weather has fueled flames and created tinderbox conditions in some areas.

More than 16,750 firefighters are battling 29 major wildfires across the state as of Sunday, according to CalFire.

Deadly fires have burned an astonishing 3.3 million acres in the state in 2020, creating smoky conditions and weather concerns that have resulted in partial power shutoffs for thousands of California residents in an effort to prevent additional fires.

Both Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti have attributed the intensity of this seasons fires to climate change, pushing back on President Donald Trump's assertion that the fires were due to poor land management.

"It's been very clear that years of drought, as we're seeing, whether it's too much water and too much rain in parts of our country right now, or too little," Garcetti told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" Sunday. "This is climate change and this is an administration that's put its head in the sand."

Record breaking temperatures and a lack of rain have only exacerbated conditions in a state that has seen dozens of deaths.

More victims found in deadly fires

At least 35 people have died in the West Coast wildfires, including 24 in California, 10 in Oregon and a child in Washington state.

The most deadly blaze has been the North Complex Fire, accounting for more than half of the victims in California.

On Sunday, CalFire Butte County officials announced two additional deaths in the blaze for a total of 14 fatalities.

The North Complex Fire has burned at least 261,488 acres in Plumas and Butte counties.

It is currently 26% contained after entering Butte County "with a vengeance," a little less than a week ago, according to CalFire. The blaze was "driven by extreme winds, heavy dry fuels and steep terrain," CalFire said.

"The fire remains very active and now more than ever we need to remain vigilant," the agency said in an incident update Sunday night.

"Firefighters across the State responded to 36 new wildfires yesterday, and all were contained quickly," said the update.

Weather conditions could worsen fires

Weather conditions are not scheduled to improve any time soon as high winds of up to 40 mph are forecast in the coming days in parts of the state.

Fire weather watches have been issued throughout the region and, while rain may hit the coastlines of Oregon and Washington where wildfires continue to rage, California is forecast to remain dry.

"A Fire Weather Watch is in effect Monday over the Northern Sierra, potentially impacting the North Complex with gusty winds," CalFire said in an update Sunday.

A Red Flag Warning was also in effect in Northeastern California through Sunday night due to gusty winds and low humidity.

"With the changes in weather conditions, we may see the return of critical fire next week," said the CalFire update.

Smoke choking the state

Along with the fires comes smoke, which has blanketed the coast turning skies an eerie red color in some parts of the state.

The air quality forecast for Monday shows unhealthy to hazardous conditions in interior northern California, according to a tweet from the National Weather Service's Sacramento office.

In southern California, smoke conditions range from moderate to unhealthy, the South Coast Air Quality Management District said in a tweet.

Further north, air quality also remains an issue in both Oregon and Washington, as mountain ranges and low cloud ceilings keep smoke in the area longer.

Pacific Northwest also dealing with deadly fires

Several fires continue to burn throughout the Pacific Northwest, killing ten in Oregon and one in Washington.

A child died in the Cold Springs Fire near Omak, Washington, officials said.

"My heart breaks for the family of the child who perished in the Cold Springs fire," Washington Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz said in a statement on her social media accounts Friday. "I am devastated. The DNR family is devastated. The pain that family is going through is unfathomable."

Franz said she had been touring communities devastated by fires but had hoped no deaths had occurred.

"Many homes and buildings were lost throughout the state, but the relief I felt in this tragedy is that we hadn't lost any lives. That tragically and horrifically changed today" the commissioner said.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 724214

Reported Deaths: 13363
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion989071736
Lake53172962
Allen40223675
Hamilton35354408
St. Joseph35270550
Elkhart28228437
Tippecanoe22297217
Vanderburgh22231396
Porter18560304
Johnson17832376
Hendricks17098313
Clark12897191
Madison12519339
Vigo12379244
Monroe11811168
LaPorte11691210
Delaware10571185
Howard9823215
Kosciusko9347117
Hancock8204139
Bartholomew8036155
Warrick7754155
Floyd7630176
Wayne7002198
Grant6986174
Boone6652101
Morgan6529139
Dubois6139117
Marshall5954111
Dearborn577177
Cass5769105
Henry5671102
Noble555783
Jackson499672
Shelby488196
Lawrence4470120
Gibson433791
Harrison432972
Clinton426353
DeKalb423284
Montgomery423088
Whitley392739
Huntington386380
Steuben381057
Miami379165
Knox370990
Jasper361347
Putnam357760
Wabash352478
Adams340354
Ripley338370
Jefferson328481
White312254
Daviess294399
Wells290281
Decatur282992
Fayette278362
Greene276085
Posey270733
Scott264453
LaGrange263870
Clay258945
Randolph239581
Washington239131
Spencer230431
Jennings228848
Starke213252
Fountain211846
Sullivan210442
Owen195856
Fulton194240
Jay190429
Carroll187820
Perry182537
Orange181854
Rush172625
Vermillion167643
Franklin167235
Tipton161945
Parke145416
Blackford134332
Pike132634
Pulaski115945
Newton106734
Brown101441
Crawford99014
Benton98114
Martin87415
Warren80515
Switzerland7808
Union70610
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1077284

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1251861392
Cuyahoga1110942107
Hamilton796611200
Montgomery511561012
Summit46842933
Lucas41780782
Butler38228580
Stark32099907
Lorain24828480
Warren24214297
Mahoning21403586
Lake20518368
Clermont19704238
Delaware18463131
Licking16373210
Fairfield16083199
Trumbull15966466
Medina15192262
Greene14991244
Clark13927297
Wood13020188
Portage12772201
Allen11564231
Richland11277198
Miami10652215
Muskingum8783132
Wayne8738210
Columbiana8735229
Pickaway8527121
Marion8494135
Tuscarawas8459243
Erie7831154
Hancock6880126
Ross6821152
Ashtabula6756169
Geauga6659148
Scioto6385101
Belmont5828167
Union569347
Lawrence5536102
Jefferson5481151
Huron5409119
Darke5333122
Sandusky5316120
Seneca5248121
Athens518058
Washington5137109
Auglaize487084
Mercer479085
Shelby466893
Knox4472110
Madison434761
Putnam4260100
Ashland420989
Fulton419869
Defiance416597
Crawford3954106
Brown391857
Logan380676
Preble378298
Clinton369861
Ottawa365779
Highland352761
Williams337075
Champaign329258
Guernsey314453
Jackson311651
Perry294250
Morrow283639
Fayette280649
Hardin269864
Henry267766
Coshocton263858
Holmes2587101
Van Wert242463
Pike237233
Adams235852
Gallia235148
Wyandot230654
Hocking214662
Carroll190947
Paulding171140
Meigs144339
Noble133437
Monroe130642
Morgan108223
Harrison107337
Vinton82015
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Clear
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Hi: 59° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 56°
Angola
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 55°
Huntington
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
56° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 56°
Van Wert
Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 55°
Shower and thunderstorm chances increase Thursday afternoon.
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