Transcript for Death toll growing in explosive wildfires in the West
We continue to follow the emergency unfolding across several states tonight. The stories emerging are just awful. The father racing through flames to get to members of his own family. His 12-year-old son and the boy's grandmother were later discovered. They did not survive. And the new images coming in. Look at this. This is a home near Oregon city, Oregon. Keep in mind, this image was captured in the middle of the day. Thousands have been forced from their homes there, entire neighborhoods destroyed tonight. In California, they are setting more than 3 million acres now burned. And from Washington state, the story of a toddler who did not survive. And the governor of Oregon late today with a warning, saying, quote, this will not be a one-time event. Unfortunately, we are feeling the acute impacts of climate change. Here's our chief national correspondent Matt Gutman on the fire lines again tonight. Reporter: Tonight, survivors of that explosion of wildfires in the west offering a glimpse inside. Half the town is going to be gone. At least half the city. Reporter: Just 24 hours after the governor warned of the state's greatest loss of life, the death toll is growing tonight. Southeast of Salem, Oregon, Chris Tofte frantically trying to reach his family during the evacuation. I drove through with some pretty big flames, like flames engulfed my car. I can't believe the tires and pop or something, you know. Reporter: Tragically, after Reporter: After that interview, the family says, searchers found the bodies of his 12-year-old son Wyatt and Wyatt's grandmother Peggy. The fires in the Medford area destroyed about 600 homes. This lone house, a reminder of a neighborhood obliterated. From up here, you don't only get a sense of the scale of the destruction, but also an entire landscape bleached of color. This is a sea of gray and ash and twisted metal. In another neighborhood, Tim took us with him to see if his home was still there. With landmarks gone, the neighborhood unrecognizable. A friend of ours had a house here, a couple friends and it's so destroyed, I can't even find where it was. Reporter: He was with his daughters and grandson, picking through the wreckage. I'm so surprised that the people was able to get out of here alive. Reporter: His grandson Andre finding his prized possession, a lightup keyboard he earned himself. This -- It was a special gift. Personal gift that he got for learning to ride his bike, so -- Yeah, it's gone. Guess what? Remember what we said? It's what? Replaceable, right? Yeah. Right. Okay? So hang onto it, we'll make something cool with it, okay? Yeah. Reporter: In California, the fast-moving bear fire among the nearly 30 major fires burning in the state. Our Kaylee Hartung is in butte county. The fires scorching a record three million acres this year alone, more than 26 times what burned at this time last year, and these firefighters are stretched thin, some working nonstop for nearly a month. Reporter: With four months still to go until the end of wildfire season, this year has already produced historic destruction. In Washington, fire claiming the life of a 1-year-old boy and badly burning his parents. 600,000 acres burned the past three days alone. The town of Malden nearly burned to the ground. The governor pointing to climate change. We talk about this as a wildfire. I think we have to start thinking they're more climate fires. They're climate fires, because that's what creates the conditions that makes them so explosive. Just a devastating scene again tonight. Matt Gutman in Phoenix, Oregon. And we can see the pictures there behind you. I know that just in the last couple of hours they've announced at least two deaths in the community where you are tonight, and I know they're bracing for the possibility that that toll could rise? Reporter: And David, that's because officials say that they have not been able to assess the damage or the death toll, because they are simply stretched too thin. And looking out over this, you can tell why the task for investigators of digging through this debris would be so and with that live drone shot, I wanted to show you the sweep of the devastation here, this goes on block after block. Entire developments incinerated as far as the eye can see. Really just unbelievable. Our thanks to you, Matt, and the entire crew. You've been on this for many days now and we're thinking about all of those families tonight.
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