By the Associated Press:
Smoke from massive wildfires that painted skies throughout California orange is helping crews struggling to surround the deadliest blaze of the year. But despite the progress, there’s concern the death toll may mount as crews reach devastated areas.
Nine people, including a 16-year-old boy, have been confirmed dead in the North Complex fire that destroyed the foothill hamlet of Berry Creek northeast of San Francisco. But crews haven’t managed to search some hot zones to search for more victims.
Officials say smoke from fires around the state have blocked the sun, reducing temperatures and raising humidity. The favorable weather is expected to continue through Saturday.
A change in the weather with winds easing and humidity rising have helped firefighters battling massive blazes in Oregon that have taken a deadly toll from one end of the state to the other.
Governor Kate Brown said Friday that dozens of people were still missing and tens of thousands had been forced to flee their homes. The state’s emergency management director, Andrew Phelps, said officials are “preparing for a mass fatality event” and thousands of structures have been destroyed.
Oregon officials haven’t released an exact death count but at least eight fatalities have been reported.