The latest on western forest fires (all times local):
CHICO, Calif. – Search and rescue workers found three more bodies in the rubble of a forest fire in Northern California, bringing the death toll in that fire to 12 and the total death toll in the state’s recent flames to 22.
Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea announced the additional deaths Saturday but did not provide details. He said 13 people are not reported.
The fire that broke out in Berry Creek and Feather Falls in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco on Tuesday evening devastated the small town of Berry Creek and other mountain communities under the shadow of a devastating fire in 201
PORTLAND, Ore. – An Oregon sheriff said authorities had responded to reports that armed people were putting up roadblocks in rural areas and demanding identification in the face of heightened tension from forest fires.
Mike Reese, sheriff of Multnomah County, Oregon’s most populous county, said Saturday that MPs were telling people that such activity was illegal and that the roads would remain open. The sad Reese authorities have put in additional patrols.
“The sheriff’s office will not tolerate any illegal activity of any kind, including civil roadblocks,” Reese said.
Earlier this week, authorities refuted rumors that anti-fascist activists started fires in Oregon.
BERRY CREEK, Calif. – Search and rescue workers found a puppy amid the rubble of a property that was destroyed by the deadliest devastating fire in California this year.
The Butte County sheriff’s office said the puppy was covered in soot when it was found hidden in a metal engine on a large property in Berry Creek, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco, on Friday.
The puppy was taken to a veterinarian’s office for treatment of minor burns.
Authorities later learned that the property owner had multiple dogs and could not pack all of them before escaping the fast-moving flames.
Megan McMann, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office, says MPs have temporarily named the puppy soldier until he can be reunited with his family.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since lightning-induced fires that began weeks ago merged into a monster that largely devastated the city. The search continued for 19 people who were not reported.
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon’s firefighter has resigned after being on leave as part of a staff investigation.
The Oregon State Police put fireman Jim Walker on leave Friday night and stepped down on Saturday.
In a press release on Saturday, State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton said only that a change in leadership was needed to address the “unprecedented crisis” of the wildfires.
Walker did not immediately return a Facebook message from The Associated Press asking for comment.
Mariana Ruiz-Temple, the assistant state fire department, has been named to replace him.
In a written statement on Saturday, Governor Kate Brown said Ruiz-Temple “led with grace, transparency and courage” and that she “embodies the experience Oregon needs to face this crisis.”
LYON, Ore. – A hero of the Ancient Forests Movement in the Northwest is missing from one of the many wildfires that scorch Oregon.
The Oregonian / OregonLive reports that 72-year-old George Atiyeh has not been seen since the Beachie Creek fire burned his home near Lyon, southeast of Salem, last week. His daughter Aniese Mitchell posted on Facebook on Friday evening that the family had reported him missing.
Atiyeh fought for years in the 1980s to prevent the US Forest Service from opening the area around Opal Creek, a pristine area in the Willamette National Forest known for its ancient trees, including a 270-foot Douglas fir that is believed to be that she is 1000 years old to uncover old. Federal law on the protection of the area passed in 1996.
The Opal Creek area was hit by the same fire that destroyed Atiyeh’s home, but the extent of the damage there is unknown as it remains inaccessible.
His daughter said the last time she spoke to him was Monday night and that he was determined to stay because he didn’t think he was in danger. She said search parties were looking for him.
SACRAMENTO, California – A California woman who was killed in a state forest fire was known as an animal lover who often rescued stray dogs and cats.
Authorities confirmed on Friday that 77-year-old Millicent Catarancuic had died near her home in Berry Creek, California. Catarancuic’s nephew Zygy Roe-Zurz said she loved animals and had four dogs and several cats on her five acre property in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco.
Zurz said Catarancuic was “sharp as a whip” and enjoyed playing FreeCell. You could win the game in about 80 seconds.
Authorities said nine people were killed in the fire at the North Complex in Northern California. Zurz said his mother, Suzan Violet Zurz, and his uncle, Phil Rubel, also lived on the property and are missing.
Holly Catarancuic, the daughter of Millicent Catarancuic, said her mother lived in Berry Creek for about eight years. She said her mother was very happy and the property was a “safe haven” for the family.
This article has been updated to correct a name: it is Suzan Violet Zurz, not Susan Zurs.
OREGON CITY, Ore. – An Oregon sheriff’s deputy was on leave after a video emerged suggesting that leftist activists “caused hell” in starting wildfires – a claim exposed by the FBI.
Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts said he put the MP on leave after learning of the video taping the MP with reference to “Antifa” saying that people’s lives and property were at stake stand because “these people got a revenge”.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies in the Northwest say they investigated such reports and found them incorrect.
The MP’s identity was not immediately disclosed.
The sheriff said he would be on leave pending an investigation into inappropriate comments and policy violations.
Authorities say conspiracy theories and misinformation are being drained of valuable resources from local fire and law enforcement agencies working to fight fires and protect lives.
WASHINGTON – The White House announced on Saturday that President Donald Trump would visit California on Monday to receive news of the devastating forest fires on the west coast.
More than 20 people have died in windswept flames in California, Oregon and Washington. In Oregon alone, authorities have stated that more than 3,880 square kilometers (1,500 square miles) have been burned in the past few days, almost twice the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island.
Democratic governors for all three states said the destruction and speed of the flames were unprecedented and they blamed climate change for worsening conditions.
Washington Governor Jay Inslee called the flames “climate fires” rather than forest fires.
“This is not an act of God,” said Inslee. “That happened because we changed the climate.”
SAN FRANCISCO – Favorable weather conditions helped more than 16,000 firefighters tackle 28 major forest fires across California on Saturday. In all of the fires, containment increased, and some were rapidly approaching full containment. Nevertheless, gusty winds triggered warnings of a high fire risk in the forecast for the far north of the state on Sunday.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Safety says forest fires have burned more than 3 million acres in California, killed 19 people and destroyed over 4,000 buildings since the beginning of this year.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead since lightning-induced fires that began weeks ago merged into a monster that largely destroyed Berry Creek, a tiny hamlet in the Sierra Nevada foothills northeast of San Francisco. There was concern that the death toll could rise if the crews reach devastated areas. The Butte County sheriff’s office said 19 people had not been reported.
LYONS, Ore. – Oregon firefighters reported progress on two flames that burned on opposite sides of the state as the high temperatures and windy conditions that annoyed them earlier in the week subsided.
On Saturday morning, authorities reported that the Almeda fire in southern Oregon, near the California state line, was 50% contained and barely grew overnight. This fire destroyed around 700 buildings.
In northern Oregon, crews were able to establish positions to contain the spread of the much larger Beachie Creek Fire in Clackamas County south of Portland. They also said that better weather overnight limited the flame’s growth. There have still been no estimates of the damage from this fire as crews continue to assess the situation.
According to authorities, more than 3,880 square kilometers have been burned in Oregon in the past few days, almost twice the size of a typical year and an area larger than Rhode Island.
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon’s state firefighter has been put on paid administrative leave amid devastating forest fires.
State Police Superintendent Travis Hampton announced this in a press release on Saturday, saying the “unprecedented crisis” requires an urgent response – and that requires a change in leadership.
Fireman Jim Walker has been on leave and has been replaced on an active basis by Mariana Ruiz-Temple, the assistant state firefighter.
Walker has been a firefighter since 2014.
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon officials are urging employers to stop or delay outdoor work, including construction and harvesting, as the area is covered in devastating smoke.
The Pacific Northwest continues to have the most unhealthy air in the world from fires in California, Washington, and Oregon.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Oregon Health Authority say employers must take reasonable steps to protect workers when air quality becomes unhealthy. This may include taking breaks from working outdoors, keeping workers with health problems at home, and providing N95 masks as the masks many workers have been wearing to protect against COVID do not protect against smoke particles.
“During this incredibly challenging and evolving emergency, we encourage employers – especially those in the field – to take all reasonable and necessary precautions and steps to keep their employees safe,” said Michael Wood, OSHA administrator in Oregon, in a Press release.