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Climate change influence on deadly wildfires of the West

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The parched east side of Evergreen Washington state is under a state of emergency for a spate of wildfires across 20 counties that have burned uncontrollably for a week.

Three of the largest fires have consumed almost 300,000 acres east of the Cascade Mountains in Washington, with the largest being reported as the Carlton Complex fire.

Gov. Jay Inslee is calling it the worst in Washington’s history with over 600 people evacuated from their homes, 150 structures incinerated and over 7,000 people without power, which may not be restored for weeks.

Tacoma News Tribune reported over 2,000 fire fighters were deployed to areas in Central and Eastern Washington from all across the state.

In addition, more than 400,000 gallons of water have been dumped on Eastern Washington wildfires.

Witnesses said the noise from wind-driven flames was deafening and moving so fast that many could barely get out of their homes before they were swallowed by “funnels” of fire twice as tall as the trees.

King5 News described the death of a man on Monday, who died of a heart attack while fighting a fire threatening his home.

Furthermore, Central Oregon is also under a state of emergency for fourteen major wildfires blazing across parts of the state in dry and arid conditions. Over 555,000 acres continue to burn.

High winds hampered firefighter efforts to control blazes in the Deschutes National Forest, which were being reported on Monday as only 20 percent contained.

More than 6,100 firefighters and other personnel have been utilized in Oregon’s battle against the blazes.

Estimates are likely to surpass 1 million acres burned between Washington and Oregon wildfires that started several months ahead of the usual fire season.

Moreover, California has been struggling under record-breaking drought this year, which has caused restrictions on water use, with fines of up to $500 for violations.

Experts say the drought will continue to deepen and get worse, making it harder to escape the cycle.

Climatologist Brian Fuchs from National Mitigation Center of the University of Nebraska compared California’s situation to the deep, pro-longed droughts currently existing in Oklahoma and Texas.

The LA Times reported in May the following statistics on California’s drought: 81% of California in the category of extreme drought or worse, up from 78%. Three months ago, it was 68%.

Drought studies are based on weather patterns, water activity and conditions of the soil.

Wildfires assisted by Santa Ana wind conditions have raged throughout areas of California this year starting on January 1st and they have continued periodically to date with over 3,000 fires responsible for burning 121,642 acres of land.

In May, a burned body was found in a homeless encampment near Carlsbad, believed to be killed by the wildfire fire, which was suspected as being arsen.

The California wildlifes in May alone cost over $20 million.

Climate change, hotter temperatures and lightening-laced summer storms are to blame, say environmentalists, for longer seasons and more destructive fires; with no relief of the cycle in sight.

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