Dozens Still Missing in Oregon as Weather Helps Fire Fight

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Improved weather conditions are helping firefighters battle record blazes along the U.S. West Coast as authorities continue their search for dozens of missing people in the state of Oregon.

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In Oregon and California lower temperatures, reduced winds and increased humidity are helping reduce the fires, which have already burned thousands of structures and forced 40,000 people to flee their homes in Oregon alone.

At least 17 people have died – including nine in Northern California – according to official reports and local media.

Worries are growing that as fires recede the number of deaths will rise dramatically.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown said Friday that dozens of people remain missing as emergency management official warned that the state is preparing for a “mass fatality event.”

In California, the improved weather conditions helped authorities increase containment on all fires, CalFire, the state-wide fire department, said on Saturday.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump will visit McClellan Park, near California’s capital Sacramento, on Monday to be briefed on the fires, which have burned a record-shattering 1.3 million hectares in the state since the January.

The fires have been fuelled by a volatile mix of high winds, heat waves, lightning storms and drought conditions, which experts say are the symptoms of climate change.

Decades of poor forest management has also contributed to denser forests causing bigger blazes.

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