Huge Oregon wildfire grows, forcing new evacuations
The largest wildfire in the US torched more dry forest landscape in Oregon, authorities said on Sunday. Gusty winds and dry, hot weather are increasing the size of dozens of wildfires scorching vast stretches of Oregon, California and other western states.
One of dozens of major blazes burned across the West as critically dangerous fire weather loomed in the coming days. It grew in size to nearly 468 square miles (1,212 square kilometres).
John Flannigan, an operations section chief with the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), in charge of battling the blaze said “the weather is really against us.”
Bootleg, the largest of 80 major fires now active in the US, spread overnight from 274,000 acres to 290,000 acres — three times the size of the metropolis of Detroit, officials said.
With oppressively hot, dry weather looming over much of the Western US and Canada on Sunday, the enormous Bootleg Fire in Oregon grew again and authorities ordered new evacuations.
Some 2,000 people have had to evacuate, with more following on Sunday.
Satellite imagery from the National Weather service showed a huge plume of smoke soaring from Bootleg, in southern Oregon, to the Canadian border, hundreds of miles to the northeast.
But, with firefighters making progress on Bootleg's western flank, overall containment of the blaze more than tripled, to 22 per cent.
Heavy winds and widespread lightning storms remained a serious threat.
Firefighters blamed lightning strikes for a fast-growing blaze in California's Lake Tahoe tourist area. The so-called Tamarack Fire, fanned by fierce winds, has grown explosively to more than 20,000 acres, with zero containment so far.