Bootleg, Lava Wildfires Among Several Burning Over 80k Acres Across Oregon and California

Wildfires burning across the state of Oregon and California are covering almost 80,000 acres of land as the fire season kicked off early this year amid record heat waves.

As of Tuesday, the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) reported 503 fires in its protected lands, covering 8,507 acres.

The Bootleg Fire in Klamath County in Oregon is roughly around 38,900 acres with a zero to one percent containment, burning just about 11 miles northeast of a small town called Sprague River, according to the ODF.

Evacuation orders are in effect and the cause of the fire is still unknown.

According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Bootleg Fire nearly tripled in size Wednesday night and forced emergency closures to Fremont-Winema National Forest and highways in the surrounding areas.

The #BootlegFire is currently 38,892 acres with between 0 and 1% containment. 328 are on scene helping with the fire fight.
Smoke from the fire is highly visible from Oregon State Highway 140, Sprague River Highway, Chiloquin and the surrounding area. @KOBITV pic.twitter.com/phFc4m1VF3

— Madison LaBerge (@Madison_LaBerge) July 9, 2021

"We're working with our partners in public and firefighter safety on when to reopen the highway to traffic. But now is not the time," interim ODOT District Manager Jeremiah Griffin told OPB.

The Lava Fire, sparked by lightning near the base of Mt. Shasta in California on June 24, has covered about 25,100 acres of land, with the fire now 70 percent contained, according to the Incident Information System.

According to the morning update of the fire from the Forest Service, "There has been no significant growth on the Lava Fire for several days."

Another fire burning in the state of Oregon is the Jack Fire near the town of Glide, currently at 5,477 acres with a zero percent containment. The Jack Fire is threatening structures and surrounding areas have been evacuated, according to the morning update.

In late June, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown declared a state of emergency due to high temperatures and the threat of wildfires across the state, and on Wednesday, Brown invoked the Emergency Conflagration Act for the Bootleg Fire.

"Southern Oregon is still recovering from last year's devastating wildfires," said Brown in a press release, "and I will do everything in my power to ensure resources are available to contain the Bootleg Fire, as well as others that are burning across the state."

She added: "This is a reminder that Oregonians must continue to be firewise, fire safe, and to honor all burn bans."

The Emergency Conflagration Act was also invoked the day before for the Jack Fire, and Brown said, "It is evident that this fire season is rapidly under way, and we must all remain aware and cautious, especially with activities that could spark a fire. We all need to do our part to help the many firefighters battling multiple fires across Oregon."

Here are the latest fire potential outlooks for July and Aug courtesy of @NIFC. Note all of WA and OR are predicted to be in above-normal wildland fire potential in July. #orwx #wawx #pdxtst #NIFC pic.twitter.com/LjBPWpj3ew

— NWS Portland (@NWSPortland) July 8, 2021

The National Weather Service of Portland tweeted that all of Oregon and Washington are predicted to be at "above-normal wildland fire potential" this month.

"The continued drought, dry conditions, and higher than normal temperatures have increased the fire risk across Oregon," Oregon Department of Forestry's Fire Protection Division Chief Doug Grafe said to Newsweek regarding this year's increased fire risk. "Parts of the state are as dry now as they typically are in mid-August. The threat of wildfire is imminent. As the forests continue to dry out, the risk continues to increase."

Newsweek reached out to the NWS Portland for additional comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Update: 7/9/2021 - 2:10 p.m. - This story has been updated with a comment from the ODF. Additionally, the correct location of the Lava fire in California has been added.

US-FIRES-CLIMATE
The morning sun is tinted red by smoke from wildfires near Eugene, Oregon, September 15, 2020. Wildfires Lava and Bootleg rage on in Oregon, among others, as the state battles intense heat waves and extreme fire conditions. ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images