Toxic Air Grips Portland as Wildfires Burn

Date: 2020-09-15 20:06:09

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Gov. Kate Brown said Monday she has asked President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration for Oregon as it battles deadly wildfires that have wrought destruction across the state.

As the fires burn, residents of the state’s largest city, Portland, are coping with smoky air.

Portland resident Zoe Flanagan says she has turned on the heat in her home so that the furnace filter removes some of the smoke.

A major disaster declaration would allow a range of federal help for people and public infrastructure affected by the blazes that have destroyed hundreds of homes and burned about 1,560 square miles (4,040 square kilometers). At least 10 people were killed in the blazes, and authorities say that number will likely increase.

Brown and fire officials said that better weather is aiding firefighting efforts, but warned that wind conditions by mid-week could complicate things for crews on the ground.

The Democratic governor also said the state would distribute 250,000 N-95 masks to people such as agricultural workers, tribal members and others vulnerable to the smoky skies and poor air quality that has plagued the state for days.

And Brown said that three large charitable foundations in the state were establishing a fund to aid in recovery efforts.

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