California firefighters battled the state’s largest ever inferno Thursday, as tens of thousands of people fled blazes up and down the US West Coast and officials warned the death toll could shoot up in coming days. At least eight people have been confirmed dead in the past 24 hours across California, Oregon and Washington, but officials say some areas are still impossible to reach, meaning the number is likely to rise. The August Complex Fire became the biggest recorded blaze in Californian history Thursday, after multiple fires in the state’s northwest combined amid high temperatures and winds to rip through 470,000 acres of dry vegetation. In neighboring Oregon, where at least five towns have been “substantially destroyed” and up to 40,000 people evacuated, governor Kate Brown said twice the state’s annual average had burned in just the past 72 hours. “We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state,” she told a press conference. “We know that there are fire related fatalities. And as soon as we are able to provide confirmed information, we will do so.” Local Oregon officials have confirmed two deaths in the Santiam Canyon region, 60 miles (95 kilometers) south of Portland, and… Read full this story
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