Latest: Disaster declaration issued for Oregon wildfires

National News

Land and property at an intersection is scorched, Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, in Blue River, Ore., eight days after the Holiday Farm Fire swept through the area’s business district. More than 300 structures have been destroyed in the fire. (Andy Nelson/The Register-Guard via AP, Pool)

The Latest on wildfires in the U.S. West (all times local):

10 a.m.

SALEM, Ore. — President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for Oregon due to the deadly wildfires that have burned across the state and federal officials have also declared a public health emergency as dangerous, smoky conditions continue.

The major disaster declaration, issued late Tuesday, allows a range of federal help for people and public infrastructure affected by the blazes. The public health emergency declaration will give hospitals and other organizations in the state more flexibility to meet the needs of people who are on Medicare and Medicaid.

Wildfires raging across the state have burned more than 1,300 square miles (3,360 square kilometers). At least eight people have been killed.

And authorities say more than 1,140 residences have also been destroyed by the blazes and 579 other structures decimated.

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8 a.m.

SADENA, Calif. — Firefighters have prevented a California wildfire from damaging the Mount Wilson Observatory, which played a pivotal role in early 20th-century astronomy.

The Bobcat Fire came within 500 feet of the observatory on Tuesday but Angeles National Forest officials say firefighters were able to protect the historic site.

The observatory is where astronomers confirmed that galaxies exist outside the Milky Way and that the universe is expanding. The blaze remains a threat to foothill communities but officials say the fire behavior has moderated.

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