An Instagram influencer is facing backlash for sharing a photo taken during the California wildfires, which have left the sky looking eerily orange during the day. Collette LeClair wore an orange dress in the beach photo, published on Wednesday, and shared with her 30,000 followers. Wildfires have been ravaging all three states on the West Coast, with Oregon officials preparing for a "mass fatality incident."
LeClair's post included two photos of her standing barefoot on a beach. "My last day here! Wanted to say goodbye to the ocean and beach and do something I used to enjoy so much here for years- TRIPOD PHOTOS," she wrote in the caption. "Currently gathering a lot of clothes to donate-yay! this one will not make it with me to LA, but there is someone here who will adore it." LeClair also included the photo on her website, Collete Prime, where she teased "Unique dresses on sale right now!" and linked to the dress in the photo.
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The photo gained attention when author Caroline Moss posted a screenshot of the LeClair's post. "WE LIVE IN HELL (this is an influencer who just posted a photo of clothing she's selling by *posing in it* on the beach in San Francisco as forest fires rage around her)," Moss wrote in a now-deleted tweet, reports Yahoo Life. Moss' post went viral on Twitter, and LeClair later shut off the comments of her original post. She also appears to have edited the caption, as some of the comments she added "to clarify" were not in Moss' screenshot.
"I drove to the beach on my last night in town, and took photos, I love taking photos," LeClair added on the post. "I have taken photos for the last 3 years in this city. I love this city. There have been fires going on for weeks in California. It is devastating. Prayers for people dealing with the fires. SENDING YOU ALL LOVE."
LeClair later told Yahoo Life the post was supposed to be a "simple goodbye" to San Francisco before leaving. She said she understands the seriousness of the fires. "There is a forest fire 100 miles from where I live, according to the news. It is heartbreaking," she said. "I am always Googling the fires and have been since they started, as most people in California would do. I am very sorry for the fires."
Washington, Oregon, and California are all seeing deadly wildfires. Oregon Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps told NBC News Friday officials are "preparing for a mass fatality incident." Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and at least eight people have died due to fires in Oregon since August. At least 19 deaths have been linked to wildfires in California, where firefighters are battling over two dozen major fires.