Oregon's Bootleg Fire Spreads Over 409K Acres, Severe Weather Conditions Fuel Growth

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon has grown to over 409,000 acres, with officials pointing to the "severe fire weather" as fuel for its spread.

Data posted on the InciWeb national wildfire information center shows that the fire has burned at least 409,611 acres and is 53 percent contained.

In an update Sunday, Joe Hessel, Incident Commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team, which is responding to the fire, said that "severe fire weather conditions and extremely dry fuels continue to challenge us on this fire."

Hessel added, "The progress that we have made is due to the continuous, vigilant work by our crews."

Since July 6, when it was first reported by officials, the Bootleg Fire has been spreading. It is burning in Oregon's Fremont-Winema National Forest, which is approximately 28 miles northeast of Klamath Falls.

Last week, the Bootleg Fire became the third-largest wildfire in Oregon's history, after it passed the Buzzard Complex Fire, which burned 395,747 acres in 2014. The two wildfires larger than the Bootleg Fire were the 2002 Biscuit Fire and the 2012 Long Draw Fire, which both burned more than 500,000 acres.

In the update Sunday, officials said, "Containment lines on the eastern side of the fire continue to be improved by removing smoldering fuels from the fire's edge. Crews use visual signs during the day to find these areas of smoke. During night operations, firefighters use maps from infrared flights to track down potential sources of heat."

The update continued, "As the smoke lifts today, fire behavior is expected to pick up in the afternoon. Today will be the warmest and driest for the next several days. Winds are forecast to become increasingly northwesterly throughout the day but remain light."

In a tweet Monday morning, the Bootleg Fire Information account shared a photo of the active fire at night and wrote, "With a full moon overhead crews work the night shift on the Bootleg Fire. There are many fires burning across the west and resources are limited. Firefighters continue to 'burn at night and hold what we got during the day.'"

With a full moon overhead crews work the night shift on the Bootleg Fire. There are many fires burning across the west and resources are limited. Firefighters continue to "burn at night and hold what we got during the day."
#BootlegFire #FireYear2021 pic.twitter.com/ZJBgy3MmTI

— Bootleg Fire Information (@BootlegFireInfo) July 26, 2021

The Bootleg Fire is the largest active wildfire in the U.S., but 86 other wildfires are burning across the nation, according to National Interagency Fire Center data.

The Dixie Fire in California, which has burned over 181,000 acres, is the second-largest active fire in the nation.

Oregon's Bootleg Fire
The Bootleg Fire in Oregon has grown to over 409,000 acres and is 53 percent contained. Above, trees smolder and burn on Sunday in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon. Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty