US wildfires: at least 20 people dead as blazes ravage Oregon, California and Washington – latest updates

  • Hundreds of thousands forced to evacuate homes in Oregon
  • Ten people killed in California as searchers look for missing
  • Opinion: these explosive fires are our climate wakeup call

5.01pm BST

Our contributor reports from Molalla, Oregon, where, he writes, “as in other western towns, fear, uncertainty and disinformation gripped [the town] ahead of the evacuation”.

In preceding days, Facebook pages associated with the town were filled with rumors of looters and Antifa raids. On its Facebook page overnight, Molalla PD was forced to amend a call for residents to report suspicious activity.

“This is about possible looters, not antifa or setting of fires”, the edit read. “There has been NO antifa in town as of this posting at 02am. Please, folks, stay calm and use common sense.”

Related: ‘I have never seen anything like this’: Oregon towns emptied and confusion spreads amid fires

4.40pm BST

Peter Gleick, a hydroclimatologist, member of the US National Academy of Sciences and MacArthur Fellow, writes for the Guardian, powerfully, from his home in California:

Like millions of people in the western United States this week, I woke up to deep red, sunless skies, layers of ash coating the streets, gardens, and cars, and the smell of burning forests, lives, homes, and dreams. Not to be too hyperbolic, but on top of the political chaos, the economic collapse, and the worst pandemic in modern times, it seemed more than a little apocalyptic.

Too much of the western United States is on fire, and many areas not suffering directly from fire are enveloped in choking, acrid smoke.

Related: The future has arrived. These explosive fires are our climate change wakeup call | Peter Gleick

Continue reading…