33 Dead, Dozens Unaccounted for As Fires Burn Western States

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33 Dead, Dozens Unaccounted for As Fires Burn Western States
Officials are hopeful better weather conditions are coming to help the more than 16,000 firefighters battling the flames.
SHOW TRANSCRIPT

At least 33 people are dead and dozens more are unaccounted for as wildfires are still tearing through communities across the West.

Included in the death toll have been ten people in Oregon and a child who was killed in Washington state.

California is experiencing three of its worst wildfires in state history. Smoke from the blazes has made air quality unhealthy, putting immune systems more at risk of lung infections like the coronavirus. 

Strong winds mixed with high temperatures and low moisture helped fuel the fires, but officials are hopeful better weather conditions are coming to help the more than 16,000 firefighters battling the flames.

Since August 15, California has seen more than 3.2 million acres burned and more than 4,500 structures destroyed. 

Meanwhile, Oregon expects most of their fires to burn until the winter's rainfall begins. Dozens of people are missing, and the state is preparing for a mass fatality incident based on how many structures have been destroyed.

And in Washington, 80 percent of the buildings in Malden on the eastern side of the state have completely burned.

President Donald Trump blamed forest management and broken trees for the flames. But Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and the leaders of the three states say climate change set the stage for these fires. 

"It is is maddening right now that we have this cosmic challenge to our community with the entire west coast of the U.S. on fire, to have a president to deny that these are not just wildfires these are climate fires, and if this is not a signal to the U.S. I don't know what it'll take," Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said.

The president's first acknowledgment of the fires came after the flames were ongoing for almost a month. He's headed to California on Monday to be briefed by the state's fire officials.