PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Firefighters from across the U.S. are battling the massive Bootleg Fire that grows by miles each day in southern Oregon.
The largest wildfire in the U.S. — burning in southern Oregon — grew significantly overnight as dry and windy conditions took hold in the area, but containment of the inferno more than tripled as firefighters began to gain more control along its western flank, authorities said Saturday. The fire was still burning rapidly and dangerously along its southern and eastern flanks, however, and authorities expanded evacuations in a largely rural area of lakes and wildlife refuges.
This overview of wildfires in Oregon and Southwest Washington is listed chronologically with the newest fire at the top.
Elbow Creek Fire
Reported July 15
The Elbow Creek Fire is burning in the Grande Ronde River drainage near Mud Springs, about 31 miles southeast of Walla Walla, Washington. The fire is burning on both sides of the Grande Ronde River and is on or threatening Umatilla National Forest lands, Wallowa-Whitman National Forest lands, Vale District Bureau of Land Management lands and Oregon Department of Forestry protected lands.
The fire is burning in grass and timber and has been spurred on to the northeast by winds and hot temperatures. It continued spreading northeast on Friday.
The communities of Eden Bench and Troy were evacuated. The Wenaha Wildlife Area is closed due to the fire. The Umatilla National Forest is also closed to the public.
The cause of the fire is unknown at this time.
Game Hog Creek Fire
July 3, reignited July 13
135 acres 0% containment
The Game Hog Creek Fire in the Tillamook State Forest is burning about 22 miles northwest of Forest Grove. It is 135 acres as of Saturday. Forestry officials said the firelines firefighters dug to control the Game Hog Creek Fire have held though steep terrain has made these efforts difficult.
Cooler air off the ocean is expected to move inland over the fire on Friday, which should also aid firefighters.
Most of the Tillamook State Forest remains open to visitors with the exception of Drift Creek and Idiot Creek forest roads and the Fear and Loaming mountain bike trail due. These are closed due to fire activity in the area.
Began July 12, unknown cause
686 acres, 35% contained
The Darlene Fire erupted late Monday afternoon and as of Friday night was currently listed at 686 acres and 35% containment. The fire was about 2 miles southeast of La Pine and moving to the southeast, between Finley Butte Road and state Highway 31, the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office said.
Firefighters have been working to strengthen containment lines, mop up within the fire lines and protect threatened structures. Officials said crews will be on high alert for any spot fires that could ignite and spread rapidly due to record dry conditions.
La Pine Middle School is a temporary evacuation point and the La Pine rodeo grounds opened to accept animals.
Began July 12, unknown cause
Estimated containment: July 24
The Bruler Fire, near Detroit, began flaming on Monday and is estimated to be around 156 acres as of Friday night. The National Weather Service said that GOES-West visible satellite imagery showed a “decent column of smoke rising from a location a few miles south of Detroit Lake.”
No communities are currently threatened by the blaze. However, people are asked to avoid Daly lake, Tule lake, the Old Cascade Crest trails, Forest Roads 11 (Straight Creek Road/Quartzville Road), Forest Road 10 leading south from Detroit Lake, along with Forest Roads 1161, 1133 and 1012.
Began July 11, unknown cause
6,013 acres 31% containment
The Grandview Fire in Deschutes County first sparked around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, burning lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry and on the Crooked River National Grassland. As of Friday night, the Grandview Fire had burned more than 6,000 acres and was 31% contained, with hundreds of personnel involved in fighting the blaze. Officials said the fire was smoldering Friday night and not rapidly spreading.
Crews are mopping up around structures and working to move further into the fire’s interior. Officials expect favorable conditions to help suppress the fire.
“The last two days have been really good in terms of the crews have been able to maintain the existing fire perimeter and they made excellent progress at holding that line,” said Kent Romney, the Grandview Fire spokesperson with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Romney said the mop-up process entails putting out hot spots along the perimeter of the fire.
Six Oregon Air National Guard helicopters arrived to support ground crews on Friday. The extra assistance aided firefighters in keeping the Grandview Fire inside the established containment lines.
Containment lines are in place near the most populated areas to the east and south. Crews will continue working to hold and strengthen those edges.
The governor declared this fire a conflagration, bringing additional resources to support the containment efforts. Task forces from Marion, Yamhill, Linn, Benton, Lane, Umatilla and Columbia counties, along with a Clackamas County hand crew are working to protect the 421 homes that are currently threatened by the fire.
Red Cross has set up a temporary evacuation shelter at Sisters Middle School.
Lyle Hill Fire
Began July 11, unknown cause
135 acres, 90% containment
A wildfire in Southwest Washington is estimated to be about 135 acres and 90% contained as of Friday night. All evacuations and road blocks have been lifted at this time.
Officials said the fire was burning in extreme terrain with high heat and wind gusts, threatening a power sub-station and several homes.
One firefighter was injured on Wednesday while fighting the Lyle Hill Fire. Officials say poison ivy has also been an issue for fire crews in the area.
Crews will monitor and patrol the area, looking for hot spots through the weekend.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Began July 6, unknown cause
281,208 acres 22% containment
The Bootleg Fire, which began July 6 in Klamath County, is the largest in the nation right now at roughly 281,208 acres and 22% containment as of Saturday morning.
The conflagration has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and is threatening 5,000 buildings, including homes and smaller structures in a rural area just north of the California border, fire spokeswoman Holly Krake said. The fire has destroyed at least 67 homes and 117 outbuildings. Active flames are surging along 200 miles (322 kilometers) of the fire’s perimeter, she said, and it’s expected to merge with a smaller, but equally explosive fire by nightfall.
“We’re likely going to continue to see fire growth over miles and miles of active fire line,” Krake said. “We are continuing to add thousands of acres a day, and it has the potential each day, looking forward into the weekend, to continue those 3- to 4-mile runs.”
A Red Flag weather warning was issued for the area through Saturday night.
Nearly 2,000 personnel are assisting in the firefighting efforts, including resources from 25 other states. Some members of Portland Fire & Rescue were deployed to join the Multnomah County task force to help fight the fire.
It’s not known what sparked this blaze.
Evacuation efforts are rapidly changing, officials said.
The latest evacuation information is provided in an interactive map for Lake and Klamath counties.
Began July 5, unknown cause
16,667 acres 35% containment
The Jack Fire in Douglas County was listed as 16,667 acres and was 35% contained as of Saturday morning. The Jack Fire currently is 100% on Forest Service Managed Land.
Firefighters are working on control lines by using burnout tactics or by removing burnable material.
There have been four injuries reported as a result of this blaze. A total of 770 personnel are assisting in the firefighting efforts.
The Jack Fire was first reported around 5 p.m. on July 5. Flames are burning north of State Highway 138 and east of Jack Creek Road. Crews say between the steep terrain, fuels and inaccessibility, the fire grew rapidly.
Areas of the Umpqua National Forest were ordered closed until February 28, 2022, unless rescinded sooner.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.