Oregon fall firestorms cautionary tale in worsening drought

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OTIS, Ore. (AP) — Unprecedented wildfires in Oregon destroyed more than 4,000 homes and raged through more than 1 million acres in a hellish 72 hours last fall.

The flames hit places accustomed to fire.

They also ravaged a coastal village tucked into temperate rainforest, crept within 30 miles of Portland and scorched the rainy western part of the state, where fire is rarely a threat.

Drought in the U.S. West has made Oregon even drier this year, and experts say the state’s recent experience is a taste of the future as climate change makes destructive blazes more likely in the lush Pacific Northwest.

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