Deadly wildfires of the West Coast with unhealthy smoke, complicating efforts to fight the blazes and find dozens of missing people.

Deadly wildfires have blanketed swaths of the West Coast with unhealthy smoke, complicating efforts to fight the blazes and find dozens of missing people, and compounding the misery of thousands who’ve been displaced.

“You just never believe it’s all going to go up in flames,” Marian Telersky, who lost her home in the southern Oregon city of Talent, told CNN affiliate KOBI. “It’s a lot to handle.”

Fires have killed at least 28 people in the three contiguous West Coast states since mid-August, including 19 in California, many of them in the past few days.

Blazes this week have killed a 1-year-old boy and another child in Washington and eight people in Oregon, including a teenage boy who in his last moments huddled with his dog inside a car that was engulfed in flames.

Thousands have fled their homes in Oregon alone, including Lori Johnson, who was awakened in the middle of the night by law enforcement shortly before fire consumed her home in Mill City.

“I got out with no socks, no nothing — literally, the clothes on our backs,” she told CNN affiliate KATU from Salem, where she and her family are staying temporarily while trying to figure out what do next.

Across the West, 97 large fires were burning Saturday, including 12 in Idaho and nine in Montana, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Federal air quality monitors are warning that smoke is making for unhealthy air Saturday in most of California, Oregon and Washington and parts of Idaho. That smoke could make people more vulnerable to Covid-19, doctors say.

In California, three of the five largest wildfires in the state’s history are burning now, officials say. Little rain, high temperatures and strong winds helped set the stage for the flames and fuel them. And officials say it may take a long time for them to stop.

At least eight of Oregon’s wildfires are expected to burn “until the winter’s rains fall,” Oregon Department of Forestry Fire Chief Doug Grafe said Friday.

The sheer number of blazes is taxing the resources used to battle them. Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia told CNN Saturday that his department is currently fighting fires with 500 personnel, when they usually have 1,000 to 1,500.

“This system is very, very well taxed right now with a number of large fires that are that are scattered, but particularly in California,” Garcia said, adding that it’s common for firefighters to work over 24 hours on a shift until relief comes.
With the current strain on the system, though, Garcia said “that relief isn’t coming in necessarily in 24 hours. So we’re having to find ways to maximize rest periods throughout the day.”

The article is originally published at cnn news.