There’s finally some good news about the Bootleg Fire. After an arduous month of severe fire weather, the largest wildfire in the U.S. is now 100% contained.
The fire peaked at over 413,000 acres, making it the third-largest conflagration in Oregon’s recorded history.
On July 6, the fire was sparked by lightning in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, an area that’s suffering from a historic drought. The drought contributed to extreme, unpredictable fire behavior as crews battled the blaze. The area was regularly under a red flag warning for extreme fire weather, causing firefighters to retreat for safety on several days.
Though it’s now contained, the Bootleg Fire will be in the ground for a long time—the active fire burning within the containment lines is still more than four times the size of Portland.
“Smoke will continue to be visible within the fire perimeter likely until winter snows,” reads a joint press release from land management agencies. “Forest resource specialists and crews are working to identify and address hazards or needed repairs in the fire area. However, due to additional fire activity and limited staff, this work is expected to last at least throughout the season.”
According to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, there are currently 10 large, uncontained fires and fire complexes still burning in Oregon, many of which are on the western slopes of the Cascades. With the Bootleg now under control, the largest uncontained conflagration in Oregon is the Jack Fire, a 23,000-acre blaze in the Umpqua National Forest.