(The Center Square) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Monday that 10 people have died from wildfires in the state and thousands more homes have burned.
The news was confirmed by the Oregon State Medical Examiner, Brown said.
The 10 died from the Beachie Creek and Holiday Farm Fires in western Oregon, the Almeda Drive Fire in southern Oregon, and the White River Fire in Wasco County, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management reported.
Oregon was approved for a federal Fire Management Assistance Grant last week, but Brown said on Monday she has asked President Donald Trump to declare a Major Emergency Declaration in the state.
A Major Emergency Declaration would free up more federal money for long-term relief programs for such things as public infrastructure under the Stafford Act.
An Emergency Declaration is currently in effect in Oregon, which offers a limited range of funding primarily targeting firefighting costs.
This all comes as Oregon faces a $1.2 billion annual budget deficit and a 10.4 percent unemployment rate.
Wildfires in Oregon have burned nearly 935,000 acres, according to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management on Monday.
As dozens of wildfires continue to burn across Oregon and Washington to the north, there is not a single patch of healthy sky in the region.
School districts in both states have canceled in-person classes and meal pick-up due to poor air quality for at least the next several days.
The air quality in Oregon cities west of the Cascades ranged from unhealthy to hazardous on Monday, according to the AirNow Index.
Brown also announced the state is partnering with the Ford Family Foundation, Meyer Memorial Trust, and the Oregon Community Foundation to create a new relief fund to address wildfire costs.
An order of 250,000 N95 masks for impacted agriculture workers and Indigenous tribes was also placed by the state, Brown said.
Doug Grafe of the Oregon Department of Forestry said during Monday's briefing that the state may be past the “east wind fire event” as fire crews have made progress.
While the Santiam Fire and Holiday Farm Fires have yet to be significantly contained, local weather conditions could improve.
“The next five days through this week, we continue to have a westerly flow which brings cooler temperatures and higher humidity, which is favorable,” Grafe said.
High winds in central and southern Oregon, however, will present challenges.
A chance of rain is forecast for Wednesday and Thursday, but possible thunderstorms on those days pose the risk of igniting new wildfires.
When asked about bolstering the state's fire resources, Brown pointed to a number of bills related to bolstering wildfire resources earlier in the year.
One of them, Senate Bill 1514, would have bankrolled 15 projects to mitigate wildfires starting this fall and into the spring of 2021.
Brown previously called on the state to devote around $200 million to wildfire prevention and suppression.
The bills died following a walkout by Oregon Republican lawmakers in March over a carbon tax proposal.
Around 40,000 Oregonians have evacuated their homes this year while another half a million Oregonians remain under some level of evacuation preparedness.
Andrew Phelps, director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management, said on Monday that 22 Oregonians are still reported missing.
The Beachie Creek Fire in Marion County and the Riverside Fire in Clackamas County have burned more than 322,000 acres as of Monday, according to the NWCP. The fires remain just one mile apart.