Latest: Oregon governor asks Trump for disaster declaration

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

1:30 p.m.

SALEM, Ore. — Gov. Kate Brown said Monday she has asked President Donald Trump to issue a major disaster declaration for Oregon as it battles deadly wildfires that have wrought destruction across the state.

Brown said at a news briefing that the state “has been pushed to its limits.”

A major disaster declaration would allow a range of federal help for people and public infrastructure affected by the blazes that have destroyed hundreds of homes and burned about 1,560 square miles (4,040 square kilometers). At least 10 people were killed in the blazes, and authorities say that number will likely increase.

Brown and fire officials said that better weather is aiding firefighting efforts, but warned that wind conditions by mid-week could complicate things for crews on the ground.

The Democratic governor also said the state would distribute 250,000 N-95 masks to people such as agricultural workers, tribal members and others vulnerable to the smoky skies and poor air quality that has plagued the state for days.

And Brown said that three large charitable foundations in the state were establishing a fund to aid in recovery efforts.

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10:35 a.m.

ALBANY, Ore. — An Oregon sheriff says authorities are searching for a person suspected of setting eight suspicious fires around the communities of Sweet Home and Brownsville early Monday morning.

The area is about 60 miles (96 kilometers) southwest of a large fire that wiped out numerous communities in Oregon’s Santiam Valley and forced thousands to evacuate.

Linn County Sheriff Jim Yon says deputies are searching for a 1990s Nissan pickup truck that’s either white or silver with a black canopy. The truck was seen in the area of one of the fires.

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10:15 a.m.

PORTLAND, Ore. — Authorities say a homeless man with mental health issues was arrested early Monday on suspicion of starting seven small brush fires in Portland, Oregon, in the past 24 hours.

Police say 45-year-old Domingo Lopez Jr., was arrested on charges of reckless burning and disorderly conduct after starting a small brush fire with a Molotov cocktail Sunday afternoon.

He was arrested again early Monday morning on six additional counts of reckless burning after police say he lit multiple fires west of Interstate 205.

Firefighters extinguished three and community members put out three others.

No one was injured and no structures were damaged. Police say Lopez was taken to a hospital for a mental health evaluation.

The FBI and state and local authorities say there is not truth to rumors circulating online that anti-fascist activists started fires in Oregon.

Categories: California News