Erratic 241K acre Bootleg Fire ‘creating its own weather’

Wildfires

Wildfire information for Friday, July 16, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Bootleg Fire is still the largest wildfire in the United States and is now about 7% contained. But officials believe the blaze won’t be fully contained until the end of November.

Wildfires across the state are growing but more slowly. However, more than 400,000 acres have collectively burned in recent days — more than 15 times the amount of land torched at this point a year ago.

This overview of wildfires in Oregon and Southwest Washington is listed chronologically, with the newest fire at the top.

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Elbow Creek Fire
Reported July 15
10,000 acres

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.

Information: Elbow Creek Fire
Wallowa County Evacuation Information

Game Hog Creek Fire
July 3, reignited July 13
130 acres 0% containment

The Game Hog Creek Fire in the Tillamook State Forest is burning about 22 miles northwest of Forest Grove. It is 130 acres as of late Thursday. 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.

Darlene Fire
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.

Evacuation information for the Darlene Fire

La Pine Middle School is a temporary evacuation point and the La Pine rodeo grounds opened to accept animals.

Bruler Fire
Began July 12, unknown cause
156 acres
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.”

Information on Bruler Fire

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.

Grandview Fire
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.

Information: Grandview Fire
Deschutes County evacuation information

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.

Information: Lyle Hill Fire

Crews will monitor and patrol the area, looking for hot spots through the weekend.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. 

Bootleg Fire
Began July 6, unknown cause
273,582 acres 22% containment

The Bootleg Fire, which began July 6 in Klamath County, is the largest in the nation right now at roughly 273,582 acres on Friday night. It continues to make huge leaps in size. Officials said firefighters pulled back from the leading edges of the fire as extreme conditions fueled expansive growth.

Crews are using indirect tactics to fight the fire due to safety concerns by burning fuels ahead of the fire’s progress in an attempt to stop it. The perimeter of the fire is more than 200 miles long and evacuation orders are still in place.

Late Thursday afternoon, a large pyrocumulus cloud collapsed, spreading embers to the east of the main fire and prompting more evacuation notices for the communities of Summer Lake and Spring Lake in Lake County, forestry officials said. Crews were able to make good progress on the southern edge of the fire as winds pushed the blaze back into itself while personnel held existing containment lines on the fire’s western edge.

“We had several days in a row of extreme fire behavior,” said Marcus Kauffman, Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson for the Bootleg Fire. “Every day the fire punches up a column — the concentration of smoke — and we get the pyrocumulus cloud which is an indicator that there is so much energy coming out of the fire that it’s creating its own weather.”

As of Friday night, the blaze was 22% contained and nearly 2,000 personnel were 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.

Information: Bootleg Fire

Fire officials estimate the Bootleg Fire won’t be contained until the end of November.

Jack Fire
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 Friday night. 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.

Full Jack Fire evacuation map
Latest Jack Fire evacuation information

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.

Information: Jack Fire

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