Already the biggest fire in the country, the Bootleg Fire just keeps growing.
In less than three days, the Klamath Basin megafire grew another 100,000 acres, bringing the total acreage to over 340,000. That’s almost four times the size of Portland, making Bootleg the fourth-largest fire Oregon has seen in the past 25 years and the largest fire of the past five years.
“We are running firefighting operations through the day and all through the night,” Incident Commander Joe Hessel said in a statement. “This fire is a real challenge, and we are looking at sustained battle for the foreseeable future.”
Conditions have been so extreme that firefighters have had to retreat to safety zones nine days in a row. Yesterday, one firefighter was missing for several hours after he was separated from his crew (he was found last night alive and well).
For four straights days, the Klamath Basin has been under a red flag warning from the National Weather Service. That warning has again been extended until tomorrow due to more gusty winds and critically dry conditions that “will greatly increase the potential spread of any new and existing fires.”
Two of Oregon’s other large fires gained ground over the weekend, too. Southwest Oregon’s Jack Fire grew another 1,000 acres to a total of 17,000. Northeast Oregon’s Elbow Creek Fire almost doubled in size over the past few days, and is now at almost 16,500 acres.