A firefighter cut defensive lines and light backfires to protect structures behind a fire station during the Bear fire, part of the North Lightning Complex fires in the Berry Creek area of unincorporated Butte County, California on Wednesday. Photo: AFP

Oregon–September 11th, 2020.

A police car rolled through the streets of Molalla, Oregon with a loudspeaker blaring “evacuate now.”

Deadly wildfires in heavily populated northwest Oregon are growing, with hundreds of thousands of people told to flee encroaching flames while residents to the south tearfully assess their losses.

Oregon authorities said that over half a million of state residents, equivalent to the 10 percent of the state population, were forced to leave their homes in the wake of the out-of-control wildfires.

Massive wildfires spreading through the western part of the US have destroyed millions of acres of land and claimed at least 23 lives, USA Today reported.

At least 102 major blazes have ravaged 4.4 million acres across twelve western states of the country. According to the USA today, 19 deaths were registered in California, three in Oregon and one in Washington. Dozens of people are missing and thousands are being evacuated, it added.

According to the US National Interagency Fire Center’s latest update, critical fire weather conditions are expected to last across the West Coast due to gusty offshore winds amid a dry airmass.

What is really needed to douse the current epidemic of fires is heavy rain, and right now there are no rainclouds on the horizon of the orange sky.

Fires are a way of life on the west coast of the US, where a hot dry climate, wind, and pine forests fuel annual fires. Authorities have put in place a number of programs, chiefly encouraging land and homeowners to put firebreaks in place around buildings, to prevent the spread of fires that are often started by lightning strikes.

However, human actions can also contribute to starting fires. One of the current fires in California is said to have been started by someone setting off a firework at a “gender reveal party” and the family concerned has been told that it could be liable to pay millions of dollars for firefighting.

A gender-reveal party is a gathering at which a pregnant woman tells her friends whether her baby is going to start life as a boy or a girl.