Firefighters Continue Battling Wildfires in Oregon, Other Western US States

Fire crews across three western U.S. states continue to battle deadly wildfires that have produced a smoky haze that has drifted thousands of kilometers across the country into New York City and Washington, D.C., and even across the world into Europe and Mexico.The infernos, brought on by several weeks of record heat and dry wind, have destroyed about 1.8 million hectares of land across Oregon, Washington state and California. A combined 35 people have been confirmed dead in the wildfires in the three states.Air quality across Oregon has been characterized by state environmental officials as “hazardous” or “very unhealthy.” Visibility has been less than a half-kilometer in some places, according to the National Weather Service, making it dangerous to drive.Oregon Governor Seeks More Federal Help as Wildfires BurnDozens of wildfires have burned across some 4.5 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington state since AugustWeather forecasters predict thunderstorms for Oregon Thursday and Friday, which could help firefighters contain the fires and clear the air of smoke that has blanketed the state since the blazes began.In California, the wildfires have killed at least 25 people, torched more than 4,200 homes and other buildings, and burned nearly 1.2 million hectares, more than in any single year in its history.Crews in the southern California city of Los Angeles managed to beat back a raging fire that came within 150 meters of the renowned Mount Wilson Observatory, the U.S. Forest Service said.