OREGON – A 12-year-old boy was found dead Wednesday along with his dog and grandmother, after wildfires raged across the West Coast.
The young boy, Wyatt Tofte, and his dog, perished in the family car while trying to escape the flames, Fox News reported. Wyatt’s grandmother Peggy also died in the fire.
The boy’s mother, Angela Mosso, is in critical condition with severe burns.
Wyatt’s father confirmed the death to Portland news affiliate KGW. Wyatt’s uncle and Peggy’s son, Lonnie Bertalotte, also confirmed the deaths in a Facebook post Wednesday.
“The Lions Head fire took the life of many people today including my mom Peggy Mosso and nephew Wyatt Tofte. It also left my sister seriously burned and in Legacy ICU,” Lonnie wrote. “Don’t take anything in life for granted and make the best of everyday.”
Wyatt’s great-grandfather, Roger Tofte, is the owner of The Enchanted Forest, a theme park which the family has owned and operated for generations. The company confirmed and offered their condolences.
“We are devastated to confirm that Wyatt Tofte has not survived. He was found a short while ago. Wyatt was Roger’s great-grandson and is loved and adored by all of his family and friends. His grandmother, Peggy Mosso, was also taken. She was also a loved and important member of our extended family,” The Enchanted Forest wrote on Facebook. “We ask for privacy and love right now.”
Officials said the investigation as to the specifics around this loss of life is ongoing, accord to KGW.
Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency in several affected communities Tuesday.
“We have never seen this amount of uncontained fire across our state” Brown wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Currently there are fires burning more than 900,000 acres. To put that into perspective, over the last 10 years, an average of 500,000 acres burn in an entire year. We’ve seen nearly double that in 3 days.”
“More than 80,000 Oregonians have evacuated so far, with evacuations ongoing. If you’re advised to evacuate, do so immediately. You may not get a second chance,” Brown said Thursday afternoon.
Residents were forced to flee two large wildfires in Lincoln County, Oregon, on September 9, local media reported.
Lincoln City and surrounding areas were evacuated, however many people were unable to leave due to the flood of traffic on the region’s highways, the Oregonian reported.
Dale Voris filmed footage around two miles outside Otis as he was being evacuated, Voris told storyful.
Flames were also seen rising from a tree along Highway 224 in Clackamas County, Oregon, as large areas remained under an evacuation order amid wildfires across the state, Storyful reported.
With four major fires burning in the county, according to KATU 2, authorities applied various levels of evacuation warning, with most of the southern half of Clackamas County told to leave immediately.
The Forest Service Northwest also warned the public on Twitter. “We need everybody to heed the forest closures in place. These are vital for safety & fire operations going on. Mt. Hood & Willamette National Forests are currently closed to all public access. No trails, roads or campgrounds are open. Please keep the roads clear for fire crews!,” the Pacific Northwest Region of the Forest Service said Thursday.
Wildfires were also causing destruction in Washington state and California. According to the Associated Press, a Northern California wildfire threatened thousands of homes and killed at least three people.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.