EUGENE, O.R. (WWNY) - As wildfires spread rapidly throughout the West Coast, a north country native hunkers down with his family in Oregon, just 10 miles from an evacuation zone.
Gene Mosher says the fires are unlike anything he’s seen before.
“In the whole history of Oregon since people started coming here in wagon trains in the 1840′s, there’s never been anything like this, not remotely. It’s several orders of magnitude worse than anything that’s ever happened here,” said Mosher, who lives in Oregon.
Philadelphia native Gene Mosher says he when he looks outside his front window in Eugene, Oregon he sees heavy smoke, that prevents him from seeing his neighbors homes across the street.
And a quick drive to the grocery store:
“In the middle of the day, it’s orange out here. Or it’s just dark. You can’t see a block away from your home," said Mosher.
But seeing isn’t his biggest concern. Right now, Mosher says he’s worried about what he’s breathing in.
“For us personally its all about the air quality index. At 150 it becomes unhealthy. At 200 it becomes very unhealthy. At 300 it becomes hazardous. This morning its just over 500, and we’ve seen it as high as 800 here. That’s pretty darn unhealthy,” said Mosher.
Residents in Eugene have been asked to stay in their homes, preferably in one room. Mosher says his neighborhood has not had to evacuate but neighboring towns haven’t been as lucky, getting “go now” alerts sent to their phones.
“Starting about 10 miles east from here, continuing for about 75 or 80 miles, everybody’s been ordered from their homes,” said Mosher.
But Mosher says for now all he can do is wait.
“We’re hoping for the perfect amount of rain. I don’t know what we’re hoping for, I mean really. What are we hoping for? You just hope this will be over," said Mosher.
But state officials warn there’s no end in sight as of right now, with 3 dozen fires still burning in Oregon.