Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

Sprawling Oregon wildfire, largest of dozens in U.S., continues to grow

Sports & GeneralJul 16, 2021 09:51PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
4/4 © Reuters. A firefighting aircraft returns to base amid massive plumes of smoke after dropping flame-retarding chemicals on the Bootleg Fire, as it expands to over 225,000 acres, in Bly, Oregon, U.S., July 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mathieu Lewis-Rolland 2/4

By Deborah Bloom and Steve Gorman

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (Reuters) -A sprawling wildfire raging mostly unchecked for over a week in southern Oregon forced firefighters into retreat for a fourth straight day as it expanded to become the state's fifth largest blaze in more than a century, forestry officials said on Friday.

The Bootleg fire, the biggest among dozens of wildfires flaring across the tinder-dry landscape of the Western United States, has scorched more than 241,000 acres - an area exceeding the land mass of New York City.

Ironically, heavy smoke shrouding much of the region from the fires may act to slightly blunt the effects of yet another heat wave expected this weekend in the Rockies, extending to parts of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado.

The Bootleg blaze has been burning through drought-parched timber and brush in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest since erupting on July 6 near Klamath Falls, about 250 miles (400 km) south of Portland. The cause is under investigation.

Flames have destroyed at least 21 homes and 54 other structures, authorities said. On Friday, the Oregon Department of Forestry listed 5,000-plus homes as threatened, about 3,000 more than a day earlier.

That figure represents a greater number of communities potentially in harm's way as the blaze expands, said agency spokesman Marcus Kauffman. Still, fewer dwellings were in immediate danger, especially along the fire's southern flank where crews had more success.

Consequently, the number of homes under mandatory evacuation declined by about half to just over 200 on Friday, while about 2,700 were placed on stand-by alerts.

Strike teams have carved containment lines around 7% of the fire's perimeter. But extreme fire growth fueled by low humidity, dry vegetation and gusty winds forced firefighters to withdraw from leading edges of the blaze for a fourth consecutive day on Friday, officials said.

"The Bootleg fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long. That's an enormous amount of line to build and hold," incident commander Rob Allen said in a statement.

ANOTHER HEAT WAVE

Allen said hot, dry, windy conditions were expected to worsen over the weekend, while meteorologists forecast the arrival of yet another major Western heat wave, the fourth since early June.

This one, roasting portions of the Northern Rockies and High Plains through Monday, will emanate from a high-pressure ridge building over the Desert Southwest, said National Weather Service meteorologist David Lawrence.

That high-pressure dome may help pull some much-needed moisture into Arizona, California, Nevada, Utah and southern Idaho, Lawrence said. A potential downside, however, is the increased chance of dry lightning storms forming in central and northern California ahead of any rain that may fall there, he added.

More than 1,900 firefighters and a dozen helicopters as well as airplane tankers and bulldozers were assigned to the Bootleg fire as demand for personnel and equipment across the Pacific Northwest strained available resources.

The Bootleg ranked as the largest by far of 70 major active wildfires listed on Thursday as having burned more than 1 million acres in 12 states, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported. It also stood as the fifth largest on record in Oregon since 1900, according to state forestry figures.

As of Wednesday, the center in Boise put its "national wildland fire preparedness level" at No. 5, the highest of its five-tier scale, meaning most U.S. firefighting resources are currently deployed somewhere across the country.

The situation represented an unusually busy start to the annual fire season, coming amid extremely dry conditions and record-breaking heat that has baked much of the West in recent weeks.

Scientists have said the growing frequency and intensity of wildfires are largely attributable to prolonged drought and increasing bouts of excessive heat that are symptomatic of climate change.

Nearly 70 National Weather Service stations across the West have posted all-time high temperatures this summer, and several hundred record highs for specific dates have also been set, Lawrence said

The Bootleg fire is so large that it generates its own weather. Towering pyrocumulus clouds form from condensed moisture that is sucked up through the fire's smoke column from burned vegetation and the surrounding atmosphere, and can spawn lightning and high winds.

The sudden "collapse" of one such cloud on Friday spread embers to the east of the main fire zone, prompting additional evacuation notices for two communities, Allen said.

Sprawling Oregon wildfire, largest of dozens in U.S., continues to grow
 

Related Articles

Sam intensifies to a Category 4 Hurricane - U.S. NHC
Sam intensifies to a Category 4 Hurricane - U.S. NHC By Reuters - Sep 25, 2021

(Reuters) - Hurricane Sam has intensified to a category 4 hurricane, with some additional strengthening expected through Saturday night, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC)...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
Comments (1)
carl mars
carl mars Jul 16, 2021 10:04PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This comment has already been saved in your Saved Items
Leftists only like fires started by ANTIFA/BLM.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email