There was a widely circulated report earlier today that 500,000 people had been ordered to evacuate, which would be more than 10 percent of the state’s entire population. It turns out that was an error. So far about 40,000 people have evacuate though half a million have been told they need to prepare to evacuate.
The state in a news release Thursday night said an “estimated 500,000 Oregonians have been evacuated and that number continues to grow.”…
But Oregon’s governor on Friday afternoon clarified that only about 40,000 Oregonians had been evacuated, with 500,000 total under some sort of notice to evacuate or to prepare for evacuation…
The state’s erroneous evacuation estimate had been plastered across national media Friday morning. An online headline in the Washington Post declared: “Half a million Oregonians, more than 10 percent of the state’s population, have evacuated from wildfires.” The headline topping The New York Times’ website read: “Oregon Orders 500,000 to Evacuate as Fires Near Portland Suburbs.”
So the widely reported numbers were wrong but that error aside, the state remains in terrible shape at the moment with more than 1 million acres burned according to the Oregonian. Entire towns and housing developments have been wiped out. This is from Phoenix, Oregon.
This video shows the town of Blue River:
As of today, 50 people are unaccounted for. At least one official said the state was preparing for a “mass fatality incident.” The first confirmed deaths connected to the wildfires happened Wednesday.
This is 12-year-old Wyatt Tofte and his grandmother Peggy Mosso. Wyatt was found dead with his dog near his home in Lyons, Oregon where the Santiam Fire is burning. His grandmother was also killed. They are the first two confirmed deaths in the Oregon wildfires. pic.twitter.com/7iNI1UZ7pY
— Brian Kosciesza (@BrianKosh) September 10, 2020
The grandmother died in a car as her daughter tried to rescue her:
Mosso was found dead in a car that went up in flames, as her daughter and Wyatt Tofte’s mother, Angela, stood nearby attempting to save her. Angela survived but is in critical condition. Her husband and Tofte’s father, Chris, also survived…
“After a long search for Wyatt, he was found in a car with his dog on his lap, but unfortunately, was not able to escape the fire. Angie is in critical condition with full-body burns,” the statement said.
Finally, this couple survived the advancing fire but just barely. After waking up in the middle of the night because the house was full of smoke, they realized they didn’t even have time to flee by car. They ran from their house with just their dogs. They made it to a river behind their house and spent most of the next 18 hours waiting in the river until firemen could get to them. Their house and everything they owned was totally destroyed.
Just a few moments ago (as I write this) President Trump expressed his thanks to firefighters in California, Oregon and Washington: