'Almost like the apocalypse': Local woman, back in Hampton Roads, describes Oregon's wildfires

Posted at 5:24 PM, Oct 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-02 17:49:43-04

CHESAPEAKE, Va. - It was not a typical trip for Destiny Rezendes as she visited loved ones in Oregon.

Not only did her family and friends greet her, so did the heavy smoke and wildfires consuming the state.

"It looked like something from a movie,” Rezendes said. “It looked like, I would say like an apocalyptic kind of thing."

She took pictures and video to document the scenery: the skies were darkened with smoke filling the air and the sun looked like a small dot.

Everywhere she went, the sky would look dark and hazy. In one of her Facebook videos, she noticed ash on passing cars.

"Every time I go home, my favorite thing is getting off the airplane and taking a breath, a nice deep breath of Oregon's fresh air,” Rezendes said. “This time it was like breathing campfire smoke."

She was equipped with a gas mask, but she was concerned about her father. Rezendes said her father is experiencing health complications.

"We tried to go out on the town and they were not having it. I told my dad, 'You can't go out anymore,'” she said. “We already have lots of lung issues in our family, my mother passed away with respiratory arrest. "

Oregon's Emergency Management Office reported on Friday more than 971,000 acres of land burned. The fires also resulted in homes being destroyed.

Rezendes said her cousin's home was destroyed by the fires.

"She has worked really hard to build that home up and put everything she had into it,” Rezendes said. “She came back to nothing."

When she returned home, Rezendes said she came down with coughs and headaches, attributing it to the smoke. She said her dad would tell her she was wheezing when she slept.

She said she feels better - and hopes her home state does too.

"That's my whole childhood memory, is that place, and I love it,” Rezendes said. “I still love it and I pray for Oregon."