The West Coast is facing “apocalyptic” conditions amid wildfires worsened by climate change Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said Sunday.
“It is apocalyptic. … We have thousands of people who have lost their homes. I could never have envisioned this — the east winds came over the top of the mountain, proceeded to turn the fires into blow torches that went down and just incinerated a series of small towns,” Merkley told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos.
“You have community after community with fairgrounds full of people, of refugees from the fires,” he added.
Inslee also described the conditions as “apocalyptic.”
“The skies are a smoke that we have never seen before,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Merkley and Inslee appeared together as wildfires continue to rage across the West Coast.
The fires have scorched more than double Oregon’s yearly average amount of acres in the past week, with over 10% of the state living in evacuation zones. A top state official said in a press conference Friday that Oregon was preparing for a “mass casualty incident.”
In Washington, wildfires have burned on both sides of the Cascade mountains, consuming more than 600,000 acres of land as of Saturday morning. Inslee has blamed the destruction on climate change, referring to the fires as “climate fires” instead of just wildfires.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom also pointed to climate change, saying, “California, folks, is America fast forward. What we’re experiencing right here is coming to communities all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change.”
This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.