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Estacada, Oregon on Sept. 10. Photo: Nathan Howard/Getty Images

Wildfires in Oregon have put about 500,000 residents under evacuation notices and left dozens missing as first responders sift through the rubble, AP reports.

The state of play: State emergency management director Andrew Phelps said Oregon is "preparing for a mass fatality event," but has not yet published an official death count. At least six deaths have been reported, according to the state-operated dashboard.

  • Hundreds of people are working to quell the fires as cooler weather has helped slow the flames' spread in recent days.

The big picture: The Oregon fires are just part of a blaze gripping the West Coast. California has been fighting massive infernos for weeks that have displaced thousands and fires are now creeping north into Washington state, where a 1-year-old boy has already been killed.

  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) said the land scorched over the last five days has resulted in the state's second-worst fire season to date, while 2015 still holds first place.

Go deeper

Nov 16, 2020 - Health

Washington state announces new restrictions to combat "raging" pandemic

Washington state Gov. Jay Inslee during a news conference in Seattle earlier this year. Photo: Elaine Thompson/Pool/Getty Images

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) announced Sunday new restrictions to mitigate surging COVID-19 cases, as he warned the state is "in a more dangerous position than we were in March, when our first stay-at-home order was issued."

What he's saying: Inslee said if left unchecked, the "raging" pandemic "will assuredly result in grossly overburdened hospitals and morgues, and keep people from obtaining routine by necessary medical treatment for non-COVID conditions."

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

3 hours ago - Health

Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.