Surging wildfires devour five small towns in Oregon
OREGON (US) – Wind-fuelled wildfires in Oregon have gutted five small towns, said the governor on Wednesday as reports of casualties begin to surface.
Winds with a speed of up to 50 miles per hour (80 kilometers per hour) cause the flames to spread through ten miles within an hour, devouring hundreds of homes. Firefighters are grappling with at least 35 large blazes in Oregon.
Governor Kate Brown said several communities, including the towns of Detroit in the Santiam Valley, Blue River and Vida in coastal Lane County, and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon, suffered damage.
“This could be the greatest loss in human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history,” the governor said.
She also hinted at rescue workers pulling out residents from rivers where they sought refuge from the flames.
Near the Santiam Valley community of Lyons, a 12-year-old boy and his grandmother died in a blaze.
There was also another fire-related casualty outside Ashland, said Rich Tyler, spokesman for the Oregon State Fire Marshal.