Portland, Sep 12 : Massive wildfires in Oregon have scorched over 1 million acres of land, while first responders were trying to locate dozens of missing people in Jackson, Lane and Marion counties, state Governor Kate Brown said.
In a statement on Friday, she said: “As of now, there are early reports from our state police that there are dozens of missing persons related to the fires specifically in Jackson, Lane and Marion counties.”
The governor did not give any further details.
She also said that fewer than 100,000 residents were asked to evacuate dismissing an earlier report that 500,000 people were told to leave their homes, reports Xinhua news agency
According to Brown, the half-million figure applies to people in households under any kind of evacuation order, including the mildest Level 1 rating.
State officials said on Thursday night that “estimated 500,000 Oregonians have been evacuated and that number continues to grow.”
So far, Oregon has reported four fatalities due to the blazes.
Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, said that firefighting teams are battling 16 large fires.
“We have not seen the likes of this fire in our state ever before,” he was quoted as saying in a report by OregonLive.
According to Grafe, eight of the state’s big fires might continue burning “until the winter rains fall”.
At least one blaze in Oregon – the Almeda Fire, one of the most destructive in the state – is being treated as suspected arson.
Along with Oregon, California and Washington state are the worst affected by the widlfires.