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West Coast Wildfires: Mounting destruction, rain on the way in some areas

Posted at 7:38 PM, Sep 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-18 22:38:45-04

The wildfires out west continue to rage on. Multiple fires in California, Oregon, and Washington have burned almost six-million acres, killing at least 36 people including a firefighter. Rain is expected in some areas and it may help in the fight -- but it can also add another level of concern.

Some have been lucky. Karissa Bristow's Oregon home was spared. But not her neighbor's.

"Driving here I felt I should turn around this is too smoky, but my gut said I need to go to my house I need to see what's going on and I need to take action," she said. "I actually drove up and there was a spot fire right here and I got out and put it out and there were spot fires all over."

In Oregon, nearly 2,000 homes have been destroyed by multiple active wildfires. Rain is expected to come in and may help but also hurt the situation. In areas stripped by the fire, there are flash flood watches and fear of mudslides.

"We're concerned about trees that have already fallen as a result of the fire. As the rain hits is the likelihood of those sliding further down the hill and ending up on the road," said Clackamas County Sheriff Craig Roberts.

In California, the weather is turning critical once again. Red flag warnings and fire weather watch along the state's eastern border as crews continue to battle wildfires in that state. The El Dorado Fire, sparked this month by a botched so-called gender reveal party, caused the death of a firefighter on Thursday. The death is still under investigation.

In a statement, the San Bernardino National Forest Service said, "our deepest sympathies are with the family, friends, and fellow firefighters during this time."