In this aerial view from a drone, homes destroyed by wildfire are seen in Talent, Oregon, US on Sept 12, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
SAN FRANCISCO - Seven people have been confirmed dead, dozens more are unaccounted for and hundreds have lost their homes as historic wildfires continue to burn throughout the US state of Oregon, officials said on Saturday.
The fires have scorched more than 1 million acres throughout the state. The figure is about twice the yearly average over the past 10 years, according to a report by OregonLive.
The blazes have caused widespread evacuations, forcing more than 40,000 to flee their homes. Many evacuations remain in effect Saturday, while some have been downgraded.
Air quality of Oregon's largest city Portland was the worst among major cities across the world Saturday morning because of the fires.
The National Weather Service's Portland office said air quality will likely remain poor through the weekend. Health experts have advised all residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary.
The Oregon State Police on Saturday announced Fire Marshal Jim Walker had been put on paid leave. Mariana Ruiz-Temple, Chief Deputy State Fire Marshal, has been appointed the acting fire marshal.
"Mariana is assuming this position as Oregon is in an unprecedented crisis which demands an urgent response," Travis Hampton, the state police superintendent, said in a statement.
"This response and the circumstances necessitated a leadership change," he added.