Oregon's Bootleg Fire Grows to Over 360K Acres, New Evacuations Ordered

Oregon's Bootleg Fire has burned over 360,000 acres, prompting new evacuations as officials work to contain it.

According to the InciWeb national wildfire information center, the Bootleg Fire has grown to at least 364,113 acres as of Tuesday, and is currently 30 percent contained. The blaze was first reported by officials on July 6 and is burning near the Fremont-Winema National Forest, approximately 11 miles northeast of the town of Sprague River.

The cause of the Bootleg Fire remains unknown. Officials have said that the estimated date for full containment of the fire is late November.

According to a press release from Monday, the Lake County Sheriff's Office issued a "GO NOW!" evacuation alert for residents near "Mile Post 73 on Highway 31 south along Winter Ridge to Government Harvey Pass, then east to the Highway 31 and Government Harvey junction, then back north to include both sides of Highway 31."

A "Be Set" alert was issued for residents living near "Picture Rock Pass south along Winter Ridge to Mile Post 73 and east of the middle of Summer Lake to Government Harvey Pass."

In an InciWeb update on Monday night, fire officials said: "Overnight the Bootleg Fire saw a significant increase in activity and acres burned. The predicted high winds and low humidity associated with the Red Flag Warning contributed to the increase in fire activity."

The update continued: "Red Flag Warnings for high winds and low humidity are in place again for Monday, July 19th and the potential to experience another day of large fire growth is possible."

In a tweet on Monday, the National Weather Service in Medford, Oregon, forecasted "critical fire weather conditions" across the city: "A Red Flag Warning does not mean there is a fire. It means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly."

Critical fire weather conditions will be present across parts of the east side today, including the #BootlegFire, this afternoon and evening. A Red Flag Warning does not mean there is a fire. It means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will
shortly. pic.twitter.com/qwlopGlbfy

— NWS Medford (@NWSMedford) July 19, 2021

The smoke from the conflagration was captured from space by a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite.

UPDATE: Oregon's #BootlegFire continues to expand in size, seen here yesterday afternoon and evening from @NOAA's #GOES17🛰️. According to @inciweb, the #wildfire had grown to 300,000+ acres and was just 25% contained at last report. #ORwx pic.twitter.com/1cUiTMMmDx

— NOAA Satellites - Public Affairs (@NOAASatellitePA) July 19, 2021

The Bootleg Fire remains the largest active wildfire across the country. And according to the National Interagency Fire Center, Oregon is also battling at least eight other active fires.

In a tweet on Monday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown wrote: "Let me be clear: The climate crisis has made fire season in Oregon more prevalent and dangerous, and we must work together to maximize resources and protect our communities."

Brown had earlier invoked the Oregon's Emergency Conflagration Act due to the Bootleg Fire. In a previous statement, she said: "Southern Oregon is still recovering from last year's devastating wildfires, 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. This is a reminder that Oregonians must continue to be firewise, fire-safe, and to honor all burn bans."

Bootleg Fire
A map of the Bootleg Fire in Oregon posted by fire officials on the InciWeb national wildfire information system on July 19, 2021. The Bootleg Fire has grown to over 360,000 acres and is currently 30 percent contained. InciWeb Incident Information System/InciWeb Incident Information System