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West Coast Fires: As firefighters hope to infiltrate some fires, others trigger new evacuations



Much of the rain will fall on the western slopes of the Cascade Mountains, just where Oregon Forest Department Fire Chief Doug Graffy would “ask for it,” he said.

Rain is forecast for parts of Oregon and Washington, but there is little rainfall in California, where officials warned that warm and dry conditions would increase the risk of fire over the weekend.

So far, the state has seen more than 3.4 million acres burned so far this year, killing 25 people and cutting hundreds of homes to embers.

New evacuations were ordered Thursday in parts of Southern California threatened by the Bobcat fire, which burned more than 55,000 acres and contained 9 percent, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

It is one of about 59 unlimited major fires burning across the western United States, according to the National Interdepartmental Fire Center.

It burns together in the three countries have burned more than 5.8 million acres, according to a spokesman and NIFC report. At least 34 people were killed.

Many are still leaving their homes

Authorities in California have ordered residents to leave the communities around Juniper Hills on Thursday, following the “rapid”
; growth of the Bobcat fire.
“We put it all together, all our valuables, the things we wanted to have, documents and things like that, photos,” Juniper Hills resident Peter Trono told CNN’s KCAL affiliate.
A couple who died in a California fire were ready to evacuate, but reconsidered after

“I hope all my neighbors get out and everyone is safe,” he said. “And I’m just praying we go back home and if we don’t, it’s just things, isn’t it?”

Similar scenes have taken place in the state in recent weeks, when a strong flame forced residents to leave their homes.

California Gov. Gavin Newsum says the climate is to blame.

“The basic facts cannot be denied,” the governor said. “Trend lines are not going in the right direction.”

California has seen nearly 7,900 wildfires since the beginning of the year, according to CAL Fire. More than 6,200 structures across the country have been damaged or destroyed.

In Riverside County, a fire that started on Thursday has already risen to 1,200 acres and has been 0% contained. A community near the Snow Creek fire was ordered to evacuate on Thursday afternoon, the CNN KTLA subsidiary reported.

A new danger loomed

In Oregon, Sen. Jeff Merkley said the damage study looked like “World War II land affected by fire and thousands of homes destroyed, homes destroyed.”

“A lot of them are residential buildings and parks for mobile homes, manufactured housing parks, so a lot of families who had very modest housing, the most affordable housing, the housing disappeared. We had shopping neighborhoods burned to the ground. It’s prevalent.”

The fires raging in the West are unprecedented.  They are also just a preview of what climate change is perpetuating

Destroyed land could give way to another danger now looming: mudslides.

“Recently burned land has a greater chance of erosion / mudslides,” said the National Weather Service in Pendleton, Oregon. “You know when you’re in a relationship with them.”

Mud landslides can occur when burnt soil, which lacks vegetation that stabilizes the soil, accumulates rainwater and is unable to hold its weight and begins to flow down the slope, collecting debris and speed as it walks.

“They can run fast, hit with little or no avalanche speed warning – faster than you can run,” Klakamas County Emergency Services officials said, according to CNN’s KATU affiliate.

CNN’s Joe Sutton and Rob Shackelford contributed to this report.




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