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80 Wildfires Rage Across West, Bootleg Fire Burns Over 300,000 Acres

Climate
The Bootleg Fire burning in Bly, Oregon.
The Bootleg Fire burns on July 12, 2021 in Bly, Oregon. USDA Forest Service via Getty Images

The Bootleg Fire has now burned more than 300,000 acres in southern Oregon and continues to grow as more than 80 large wildfires in the West forced evacuations across the region.


The Bootleg Fire, currently the nation's largest fire, is fueled by extremely dry vegetation and low humidity and grew at an average rate of about one football field every five seconds over its first 10 days. It was just 25% contained as of Sunday night PDT.

As reported by CNN:

Hot temperatures have been making the blaze harder to tackle. "Weather's really against us. It's going to be hot, it's going to be dry and air's going to be unstable which helps the heat raise faster, which brings in more air. All things that are negative for firefighters and positive for fire. So it's going to be a real battle today," Operations Section Chief John Flannigan said during his Sunday morning briefing.
Fire spokesperson Katy O'Hara told CNN that weather conditions need to change in order for the fire to be extinguished.

"We are experiencing extremely dry conditions with record to near record temperatures. Conditions on the ground due in part to the historic drought have accelerated the fire season. The combination of the weather and fuel conditions have led to rapid growth of the fire," O'Hara said. "The scope and scale of the Bootleg Fire will require a season-ending weather event such as a significant storm that is either widespread wetting rain or snow, which in southern Oregon typically occurs in the late fall," she said.

For a deeper dive:

Bootleg Fire: CNN, Reuters, AP; Western Fires: AP, CNN, USA Today, AP, Axios; Fire clouds: AP, The Hill; Climate Signals background: 2021 Western wildfire season

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