Oregon was preparing for a “mass fatal incident” on Friday as dozens of wildfires burned across the state.
“We know that we are dealing with fire-related deaths and we are preparing for a massive fatal event based on the number of structures we know and lost,” Andrew Phelps, state emergency The management director told reporters during news of a wildfire briefing with Kev Brown, according to Portland’s KION-TV.
At least 5 DADs are mising as 36 children, Bern ACROSS OREGON
At least eight deaths were reported in the state and Brown said dozens more were missing, including Jackson County and Marion County east of the state capital, Salem. Oregon has not released an official count of the deaths.
The two biggest fires in the state threatened to move closer to the most populous part of the state, as Portland declared an emergency on Thursday.
More than 10% of the state’s population – about 500,000 people – have been asked to evacuate their homes or be ready to move as the fire continued to destroy their path.
Efforts on the ground were helped by weather improvements following days of strong winds, heat and low humidity.
“The wind was low for us yesterday,” said Stephen Myers of the state’s fire information team.
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A suspect was also charged with two counts of arson for allegedly setting up the Alameda Fire in the southern part of the state. The suspect refused to start the fire.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.