Wildfires burning across the U.S. region known as the Pacific Northwest, including northern California, Oregon, and Washington, have consumed thousands of homes, businesses and towns. More than a million hectares of land have been destroyed. The fires have killed at least 35 people across the region.
The smoke and flames of the blazes have combined to envelope the cities of San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland with some of the worst air quality in the world.
An Associated Press description of the conditions said, “The smoke filled the air with an acrid metallic smell like pennies.”
The massive clouds of smoke enveloping the region have endangered the health of millions of residents.
Air quality across the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon was characterized by state environmental officials as “hazardous” or “very unhealthy.”
Tens of thousands of people have had to flee their homes.
Visibility was less than a half kilometer in some places, according to the National Weather Service, making it dangerous to drive.
U.S. President Donald Trump has largely avoided commenting on the wildfires, but he plans to visit California Monday for an update on the blazes, some of the worst in years. In the past, he has blamed the region’s wildfires on poor forest management.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown disagrees. She said on Sunday on Face the Nation on CBS that the fires are “a wake-up call for us that we’ve got to do everything in our power to tackle climate change.” The governors of California and Washington agree with her.