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Calls for outside help as extreme weather fuels Oregon fires Oregon State University Oregon Bay Area National Weather Service Paisley

The threat of thunderstorms and lightning has forced officials to suffer from fires. Oregon ask for outside help Pacific Northwest to prepare for additional fires, as many resources have already been spent on a major fire in the state, which has grown to a third the size of Rhode Island.

Bootleg Fire, with an area of ​​537 square miles (1,391 square kilometers), is lit 300 miles (483 kilometers) southeast of Portland in and around the Fremont Vinema National Forest is a vast area of ​​old forests, lakes and reserves. Evacuation and property damage were minimal compared to much smaller fires in densely populated areas of California.

But as the Bootleg Flame, triggered by extreme weather conditions, grows by miles each day, officials at the Rogue River Siskiyu National Wildlife Refuge in southwest Oregon are asking for more outside teams to be trained if fire activity breaks out there.

“While the thunderstorm activity forecast for the beginning of this week is expected to occur east of us, we are prepared for the worst and hope for the best,” Mike McCann, an assistant firefighter, said Monday in a statement released by the National Forestry Agency. …

Worryingly, arid conditions, drought and the region’s recent record heatwave have created conditions for gunpowder barrels, so resources such as fire engines are being recruited from places like Arkansas, Nevada and Alaska.

Meanwhile, in the east, the stunning size of the Bootleg Fire, amid its relatively small impact on humans, underscores the vastness of the American West and reminds us that Oregon, which is larger than the UK, is still a predominantly rural state despite being famous. mainly its largest city, Portland.

If the fire were in densely populated parts of California, “by now it would have destroyed thousands of homes,” said James Johnston, a Forestry College researcher at the University of Oregon who studies historical wildfires. “But it burns in one of the most remote areas of the 48 states with low prices. Is not The bay there. “

At least 2,000 homes were evacuated at some point during the fire, with another 5,000 under threat. At least 70 houses and more than 100 outbuildings burned down. Thick smoke is suffocating in an area whose inhabitants and wildlife have already survived months of drought and intense heat. Nobody died.

Raised by strong winds from the southwest, the fire quickly spreads to the north and east, advancing towards increasingly remote areas.

An evacuation order on the southern edge of the fire, closer to more densely populated areas such as Klamath Falls and Bligh, has been canceled or relaxed as crews gain control. These are now small unincorporated communities like Paisley and Long Creek, which have fewer than 250 people, and the scattered homes that sit under the crosshairs.

But as big as the Bootleg Fire is, it’s not the biggest fire Oregon has ever seen. The size of the fire currently ranks it fourth on the list of the state’s biggest fires today, including grassland fires, and second on the list of burning in the forest of hell.

These mega-fires usually burn until late autumn or even early winter, when rain finally extinguishes them.

The largest wildfire in modern history was the Biscuit Fire, which in 2002 set off a fire of about 780 square miles (2,000 square kilometers) in the Rogue River – Siskiyu National Forest in southern Oregon and northern California.

Bootleg Fire is now around 25% localized.

The flames forced the evacuation of a wildlife research station on Monday as firefighters had to retreat for the ninth day in a row due to erratic and dangerous fire behavior. The Sikan Swamp is home to thousands of migratory and nesting birds and is a key research station for wetland restoration in the upper Klamath Basin.

The Bootleg Fire was one of many fires burning in a dozen states, most of them in the western United States. On Monday alone, sixteen large uncontrolled fires broke out in the states of Oregon and Washington.

Extremely dry conditions and heatwaves associated with climate change have made it difficult to fight forest fires. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

And in Northern california Authorities have expanded the Tamarack fire evacuation in Alpin County in the Sierra Nevada to include the mountain town of Mesa Vista. The fire, which struck over the weekend and forced the cancellation of the extreme bike ride, was 36 square miles (93 square kilometers) with no containment.

The National Weather Service said thunderstorms, which are expected until Monday evening, could cause winds, fan flames, and lightning that could ignite new ones.

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