One boy and his dog died huddled together in a car as they tried to escape the massive wildfire in Oregon. The two sought safety from the flames in the car.
Killed by wildfire
The 13-year-old boy, Wyatt Tofte, died on September 8 in the wildfires in Marion County, Oregon, along with his 71-year-old grandmother, Peggy Mosso.
Mosso was found dead in a car that went up in flames as her daughter and Tofte's mother, Angela, stood nearby trying to save them. Angela survived but is in critical condition. Chris, Angela's husband, and Tofte's father also survived the flames.
A family statement said that their family is "devastated by the loss of their kind-hearted 13-year-old son Wyatt, and his beloved grandmother Peggy, in the Santiam Fire in the early morning of September 8th."
The statement also read that after a long search for the boy, he was found in a car with his dog on his lap. Unfortunately, the two were not able to escape the fire.
According to the statement, Angela is now in critical condition with full-body burns. The family statement added that they thank all emergency personnel and people who helped in the search and that their family appreciates the love and support that they have received from everyone during this terrible tragedy.
Chris Tofte's searched for his wife, son, and his mother-in-law as the fire raged around him, according to The Salem Statesman.
On September 8, he found his wife badly burned, walking along the road to their home when he returned with a borrowed trailer to retrieve their belongings.
Tofte said he did not recognize his wife at first and that he told her he was looking for his wife and son. That was when Angela replied that she is his wife, according to the Statesman Journal.
Wyatt Tofte was found in a different car. They assumed he ran and got into the car, thinking that he would be protected from the surrounding flames.
The family is now mourning their loss, and Angela is fighting for her life. There is a GoFundMe page for donations to the family.
Wildfires across the country
At least four people have been killed by the fires in Oregon and Washington state. And wildfires in California have killed at least 20 people since August.
Meanwhile, in Oregon, two small cities have been almost completely destroyed by the fires. Phoenix and Talent is home to 11,000 people. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said that this could be the "greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in the state's history."
According to The New York Times, there are now more than 40,000 residents who have evacuated the state, and about 500,000 are in zones that may be evacuated as the fires continue to grow and spread.
Oregon Mayor Ted Wheeler of Portland declared a state of emergency on September 10. Residents of Molalla, which is located 30 miles to the south of Oregon, packed the highways as they fled from the fires.