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The western USA is reeling from a devastating wildfires season that has destroyed more than 2.6million acres of land, killed at least 24 people and given the area the world’s worst air quality. Two fires in Oregon were so close together they were in danger of merging on Friday, near the suburbs of the state’s largest city, Portland. Hundreds of firefighters backed up by water-dropping helicopters are battling the blazes in Oregon right now.
Where are the fires in Oregon?
The Almeda fire, situated close to the Oregon town of Medford, has moved with shocking speed.
Thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes with little or no notice, thanks to Almeda.
The fire rapidly burnt though residential areas, leaving a number of communities largely damaged in its wake.
As of Friday afternoon, two people have been killed, and roughly 600 homes and 100 commercial buildings were damaged or destroyed thanks to Almeda.
The fire was 50 percent contained s firefighters worked round the clock to put out hotspots.
Almeda is being investigated as a possible case of arson.
A man was charged with starting a fire in a small town as the larger blaze moved towards the area on Friday.
Ashland Police Chief Tighe O’Meara announced Thursday a criminal investigation had been opened into the cause of the fire, saying he believes the circumstances around the blaze are “suspicious”.
The Holiday Farm fire is located just east of the town of Eugene.
The fire had burned through more than 150,000 acres and was uncontained on Friday.
The Holiday Farm fire is expected to threaten residential and commercial areas as it grows and continues ravaging through the state.
Blue River, a community in the state, bore the brunt of the damage, but it has nonetheless spread through a number of communities and claimed at least one life.
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The Riverside, Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires are all burning simultaneously just east of Salem.
Each fire is bigger than 100,000 acres in size.
The Riverside fire was uncontained on Friday and was found to have grown to more than 130,000 acres.
Just south of Riverside, the Beachie Creek and Lionshead fires collided.
The Beachie Creek ire, which has killed two people and injured another two, is burning over 180,000 acres and the Lionshead fire is burning an estimated 110,000 acres.
The fires have seen some 500,000 people, equating more than 10 percent of Oregon’s 4.4million population, ordered to evacuate their homes.
Oregon Governor Kate Brown said there were dozens of missing people in Jackson and Marion counties.
Firefighters have been aided by extra humidity and winds which changed direction over the last few days as they try to stop the fires spreading even further.
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