Families Share Their Heartbreaking Stories of Dealing with Wildfires in the West
The families affected by the recent historic wildfires on the West Coast could not help but be emotional as they shared their stories in an interview. Fires in the Western states hit hard and fast.
Western US states are battling almost 100 wildfires that have killed several people and left families and communities devastated. In an interview with PEOPLE, Kayla Carter, 29, shared her thoughts about the wildfires in the West.
"With COVID, politics, the protests, the riots, and now this," she said. "Realizing everything is gone in the fire, and smoke everywhere, it just seems like the end of the world."
On August 20, the two Carter family homes burned to the ground as the result of the dry thunderstorm on August 16. The rare thunderstorm lighted flames all through the San Francisco Bay Area.
The fires are burning in California, Oregon, and Washington. While the urban and suburban areas were generally saved, the fire ripped through the rural area. Describing the awful situation, Carter said "everything turned to dust."
Worsened by climate change, the wildfires this year have been the worst in decades.
"People up there are living off the grid," Carter said, explaining that they used solar power and generators for back up ran everything from hot water to the oven through a propane tank.
Chad Jones, from San Francisco, told PEOPLE that the wildfires were serious and that everyone needed to act. He said that "it was so distracting, like nuclear winter Wednesday."
Meanwhile, Marion County Commissioner Kevin Cameron, who lives in Detroit, awoke to the sounds of sirens in his neighborhood. He said that the fire just exploded out of nowhere.
Smoke from the wildfires on the West Coast of the United States have made their way to the skies above Toronto creating hazy sunrises over Lake Ontario and the Toronto Beaches. pic.twitter.com/ZrO1wlWB3K— Steve Russell (@SteveRussell) September 16, 2020
Cameron immediately grabbed what he could. He then drove his pickup truck through burning forests to safety. According to him, the fire on both sides was so hot he thought his vehicle was going to melt.
Worsened by climate change, the wildfires this year have been the worst in decades. The fires caused a thick smoke covering large parts of Washington, Oregon, and California. Many people also evacuated as a result of the fires.
[Hazy Skies - Smoke from Western Wildfires] Notice the sky is looking a little hazy? This is smoke lofted well aloft in the atmosphere emanating from the Western U.S. wildfires.— NWS Boston (@NWSBoston) September 14, 2020
This "True Color" satellite loop depicts it well, with the thin opaque areas across New England: pic.twitter.com/6EqCXzlREG
The fires in California had burned more territory than they had at the same time a year ago. Across the west, the law enforcement authorities were scouring burned communities for missing people.
In Oregon, an emergency management official said that the state was bracing for a "mass fatality incident." The fires killed at least 20 people and dozens more are missing.
Among those who died was Uriel. The 1-year-old was killed when his parents were trapped by the fire. They were visiting their property in Okanogan, Washington when the horrific incident happened.
Meanwhile, ABC 10 News San Diego is now partnering up with sister ABC stations across California to help those families in need. They will be hosting the Day of Giving for Western Wildfires. For those who want to donate, you can call 866-499-GIVE (4483) or visit redcross.org/abc.