Oregon man flees wildfire down flaming highway as 'unprecedented' deadly fires scorch state

Man in Oregon fleeing wildfires films frightening evacuation

Raw video: Residents forced to leave their homes in Lincoln, Oregon due to raging wildfires.

This was the highway to hell.

A terrifying video shows one man's journey as he evacuated from an area on Wednesday as wildfires in Oregon burned through the state, destroying hundreds of homes and causing at least three deaths.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said Wednesday more than 35 fires have burned over 300,000 acres across the state, which she described as "unprecedented."

"Our number-one priority right now is saving lives," Brown tweeted. "This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfires in our state’s history."


Video shared to Facebook on Wednesday showed evacuations in Lincoln County as residents were forced to flee two large wildfires fanned by powerful winds out of the west.

Flames can be seen Oregon Highway 18 in Lincoln County on Sept. 9, 2020 are residents evacuate from wildfires in the area.
(Dale Voris via Storyful)

Fires burning in the Echo Mountain complex scorched areas near Otis, north of Lincoln City before jumping the Oregon 18 highway and moving south.

Video from Dale Voris shows flames on either side of the highway on Wednesday morning.

Flames can be seen Oregon Highway 18 in Lincoln County on Sept. 9, 2020 are residents evacuate from wildfires in the area.
(Dale Voris via Storyful)

Dale Voris told Storyful that he filmed the footage around two miles outside Otis as he was being evacuated from the area.

Others who have evacuated blazes around the state have described similar scenes.

"Fire on both sides, winds blowing, ash flying — it was like driving through hell," Jody Evans, who evacuated from the small town of Detroit, told KTVZ-TV.

This photo taken from the home of Russ Casler in Salem, Ore., shows the smoke-darkened sky well before sunset, around 5 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020.
(Russ Casler via AP)

A mandatory evacuation was ordered in the northern half of Lincoln City, a vacation town of about 10,000 people on the Oregon coast.

“The fire is in the city,” said county Emergency Management spokesman Casey Miller.

The Oregonian reported Wednesday afternoon that people were trying to evacuate, but many were unable to leave due to the flood of traffic on area roadways.

“I’m just sitting here looking at the ocean and looking in my rear view mirror to see if the fire comes over the hill,” Shelia Orwol told the newspaper. “They say ‘go,’ but I don’t know where I’m supposed to go.”

Orwol sat in her car for about two hours before heading southward, telling the paper she went about 12 miles over the course of an hour.

The wind-driven wildfires across the state have all but destroyed five small towns.

Three chairs are all that remain at the Gates Post office in Gates, Ore., Wednesday Sept 9, 2020.
(Mark Ylen/Albany Democrat-Herald via AP)

Brown said Wednesday the town of Detroit in the Santiam Valley, as well as Blue River and Vida in coastal Lane County, and Phoenix and Talent in southern Oregon, were substantially destroyed.


Fires have also erupted along Interstate 5 in Oregon, hitting towns and forcing a shutdown of the main freeway along the West Coast.

U.S. Highway 101, the main coastal highway running through California, Oregon and Washington, was also impacted.

In Talent, a mobile home park with more than 50 homes was turned into an empty lot except for one lone trailer, Drew Cutler, who lives in nearby Ashland, told the Associated Press.


At least seven people have died from the blazes along the West Coast.

Wildfires prompt evacuation across Oregon

In Washington, a 1-year-old boy died after his family was apparently overrun by flames while trying to flee a wildfire burning in the northeastern part of the state, Okanogan County Sheriff Tony Hawley said Wednesday.

FOX12 reported that police confirmed that a boy and his grandmother died in a wildfire near Lyons, Ore. The Mail Tribune in Medford, Ore., reported that Jackson County Sheriff Nathan Sickler confirmed at least one death and a criminal investigation at the origin point of a wildfire that started near Ashland. Three others have died in California.


Weather conditions are not expected to improve greatly anytime soon.

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), shows brown smoke from wildfires blowing westward in the atmosphere from California’s Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges and from Oregon, top, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020.
(NOAA via AP)

Despite slightly cooler temperatures near the coast and overall decreasing winds, an elevated fire threat continues Thursday across portions of the Southwest, Northern California, and the Northwest, where inland afternoon high temperatures will still reach into the 90s and 100s.

The fire weather outlook for Thursday, Sept. 10, 2020.
(Fox News)

Slight improvements continue over the next several days, but there is still no rain in the forecast through the weekend to help firefighters.

The impacts from wildfire smoke will linger across the West.

Thick smoke from fires across the West will continue to blanket the region and spread across the central and southern U.S.

Fox News' Janice Dean and Brandon Noriega and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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