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Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

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A home burns during the Bobcat Fire in Juniper Hills, California on September 18, 2020. Kyle Grillot / AFP/ Getty Images

By Stuart Braun

"These are not just wildfires, they are climate fires," Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington State, said as he stood amid the charred remains of the town of Malden west of Seattle earlier this month. "This is not an act of God," he added. "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways."

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An aerial view of a neighborhood destroyed by the Camp Fire on November 15, 2018 in Paradise, California. Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

By Timothy Rooks

The many wildfires roaring through America's West Coast don't just look scary, they are bad for people's health, bad for public and private lands, and bad for the economy.

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A satellite image shows smoke spreading from wildfires in the Western U.S. on Sept. 11, 2020. NOAA / NASA

The smoke from the wildfires devastating the West Coast of the U.S. has reached as far away as Europe, officials said Wednesday.

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A MacGillivray's Warbler found dead in Fairplay, Colorado on Sept. 1, 2020. Southwest Avian Mortality Project

The American Southwest is witnessing a horrific and inexplicable phenomenon, likely due to the climate crisis: hundreds of thousands of migratory birds are dying off. The birds seem to be just "falling out of the sky," as The Guardian reported.

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Trump meets with California Gov. Gavin Newsom and other officials in McClellan Park, California on Sept. 14, 2020. CBC News: The National / YouTube

The climate crisis has wedged its way into the presidential campaign as President Trump, who has barely mentioned the fires raging on the West Coast, visited California on Monday. When pressed on global warming, Trump told a briefing, "I don't think science knows, actually."

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Inmate firefighters arrive at the scene of the Water fire, about 20 miles from the Apple fire in Whitewater, California on August 2, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images

Incarcerated people who fight wildfires in California will be better able to work as firefighters after returning home under a new law.

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NASA image shows locations of wildfires in red and plumes of smoke across the Western U.S. NASA

By Jeff Berardelli

This story was originally published on CBS News on September 9, 2020. All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication.

Right on the heels of arguably the West Coast's most intense heat wave in modern history comes the most ferocious flare-up of catastrophic wildfires in recent memory. Meanwhile, just a few hundred miles east, a 60-degree temperature drop over just 18 hours in Wyoming and Colorado was accompanied by an extremely rare late-summer dumping of up to 2 feet of snow.

It's not coincidence, it's climate change.

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Smoke covers the skies over downtown Portland, Oregon, on Sept. 9, 2020. Portland had the worst air pollution among major cities around the world due to the 37 active wildfires that have burned more than 800,000 acres throughout the state. Diego Diaz / Icon Sportswire

The wildfires raging across the West Coast have made the air quality so bad in several U.S. cities that they rank among the worst in the world. In fact, the air quality in Portland, Oregon was so bad on Sunday that it went off the charts when it passed 500 on an air quality index. Anything in the 300 to 500 range is hazardous to health, according to Oregon Live.

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A firefighter douses flames as they push toward homes during the Creek Fire in the Cascadel Woods area of unincorporated Madera County, California on Sept. 7, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images

What does the climate crisis look like? As wildfires continue to rage up and down the U.S. West Coast, we have some terrifying answers: orange skies; burnt-out buildings; a horse, seemingly abandoned, running past a stall as the hill above erupts in flames. These images help to ground an unfathomable reality.

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Fires seen in Oregon, southern Washington and northern California on Sept. 8, 2020 from NOAA's GOES17 satellite. NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs

Wildfires raged through Oregon and Washington Monday and Tuesday, prompting evacuations, blanketing Seattle in unhealthy levels of smoke and destroying nearly all of a small Washington farming town.

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Fireworks at a gender-reveal party triggered a wildfire in southern California that has destroyed 7,000 acres and forced many residents to flee their homes. JOSH EDELSON / AFP via Getty Images

A couple hosting a gender-reveal party on Saturday set off a smoke bomb to reveal the baby's gender when the device lit the nearby dry grass and sent partygoers scrambling. That mishap has now led to the El Dorado wildfire in Southern California's San Bernardino County, according to The Washington Post.

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A brush fire encroaches along Japatul Road as a helicopter drops water during the Valley Fire in Jamul, California on Sept. 6, 2020. SANDY HUFFAKER / AFP via Getty Images

On a Labor Day weekend when the temperature hit 121 degrees in Los Angeles County, fire crews around California struggled to contain ongoing and growing blazes that have so far consumed more than 2 million acres this summer. That's equal to the entire state of Delaware going up in flames, according to the BBC.

The record heat coupled with dry and windy conditions is making the 22 fires in the state difficult for crews to contain. In a preventive measure, the state's power authority shut off electricity to 172,000 homes and businesses in 22 counties in Northern California. The power will not be fully restored until Wednesday evening, according to CNN.

The small mountain town of Big Creek in the Sierra Nevada mountain range saw trapped campers airlifted to safety while the fire burned through the town, destroying roughly two dozen homes, according to NBC News.

While a hydroelectric plant owned by Southern California Edison was destroyed, three propane tanks with 11,000 gallons of the flammable gas exploded and an elementary school caught fire.

The school's superintendent, Toby Wait, evacuated with his family, but his home was destroyed after they fled.

"Words cannot even begin to describe the devastation of this community," he said to The Fresno Bee, as NBC News reported.

The fire started on Friday and grew to burn nearly 80,000 acres Monday, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. It is zero percent contained.

"This one's in a class by itself," said U.S. Forest Service Supervisor Dean Gould during a Monday night press briefing, as CNN reported.

Farther south, Los Angeles and Ventura county are under a red flag warning as the cooling temperatures after the weekend's record heat are expected to usher in high winds, which may fan the flames of ongoing fires.

The state's fire authorities are currently battling 24 fires across the state, according to the BBC.

While the red flag warning in Los Angeles and Ventura counties is expected to last through Wednesday, the state will also see wind gusts of up to 50 mph in Northern California. Those high winds are particularly dangerous as they pose the threat of spreading flames over the dry vegetation that is parched after the weekend's heat, according to PG&E senior meteorologist Scott Strenfel, as CNN reported.

"Unfortunately, this wind event is occurring on the heels of the current heat wave and will produce critical fire potential conditions," Strenfel said, as CNN reported.

"Windy conditions, like those being forecast, increase the potential for damage and hazards to the electric infrastructure, which could cause sparks if lines are energized. These conditions also increase the potential for rapid fire spread," PG&E said in a news release on Monday.

All campgrounds across the state have been canceled in a season that has seen a record number of campers. The U.S. Forest Service said the following in a press release: "Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions, and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit."

According to the BBC, the Valley Fire in San Diego County has burned more than 10,000 acres near the small town of Alpine. In Angeles National Forest, the Bobcat fire has burned through nearly 5,000 acres and prompted the evacuation of the Mount Wilson Observatory.