As thick black smoke smothers towns in rural Oregon, Scott Fogarty holds on to photos and hope.
He has no idea what happened to his longtime friend George Atiyeh. But he knows what happened to Atiyeh’s property.
“His home was completely lost, and his shop,” Fogarty said, clutching two photos of his friend.
Atiyeh is among at least 22 people missing in the Oregon wildfires, which have already killed 10 people in the state.
In some areas, the opaque smoke and soaring flames have made it too dangerous or impossible to try to find those missing.
And authorities fear more deaths. A mobile medical examiner facility has been set up in Linn County due to wildfires in the area, Oregon State Police spokesman Timothy Fox said.
He said this is the first time a mobile morgue of that kind has been needed.
In the city of Talent, about 20 miles north of the California border, homes were charred beyond recognition.
Across the western US, at least 87 wildfires are burning, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. They’ve torched more than 4.7 million acres — more than six times the area of Rhode Island. At least 36 people have been killed.
Officials in Oregon, California and Washington state have demanded more federal action against climate change as the states grapple with soaring temperatures and lengthy droughts.
Typically, fires consume about 500,000 acres a year in Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown said. But in just one week, “we burned over a million acres of beautiful Oregon.”
“We saw the perfect firestorm. We saw incredible winds. We saw … hot temperatures and, of course, we have a landscape that has seen 30 years of drought,” Brown said.
The Holiday Farm Fire has torched more than 160,000 acres in the Willamette National Forest east of Eugene. That’s an area slightly larger than the city of Chicago.
Caught in the middle of the forest is the town of Vida, where Nailah Garner had to flee her dream home last week, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.
“We didn’t know what to grab. We didn’t pack,” she said, wearing donated clothes. “Who knows what to do when you’re going through this?”
Eventually, a friend told Garner her dream home was destroyed.
“It’s all gone,” she said. “It looks like a war zone hit it.”