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Oregon wildfire fueled by ‘critically dry weather’ consumes 400K acres

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A massive Oregon wildfire, fueled by “critically dry weather” in the Northwest, continues to challenge efforts to contain it, fire officials say.

Five firefighters in Montana meanwhile were hospitalized Friday after lightning ignited wildfires in that state, according to reports.

The Bootleg Fire in Oregon, the nation’s largest wildfire, has consumed more than 400,000 acres, or 625 square miles – more than twice the landmass of New York City – including 70 homes. About 2,000 homes have been ordered evacuated and another 5,000 are threatened.

Firefighters near a containment line at the edge of the Bootleg Fire near Paisley, Oregon on July 23, 2021.
Firefighters near a containment line at the edge of the Bootleg Fire near Paisley, Oregon, on July 23, 2021.
AP Photo/Nathan Howard
Firefighters drafting water from a spring in Summer Lake, Oregon to use to fight Bootleg Fire on July 23, 2021.
Firefighters drafting water from a spring in Summer Lake, Oregon, to use to fight Bootleg Fire on July 23, 2021.
Getty Images

The fire is about 42 percent contained, according to the latest report Saturday from the Oregon Department of Forestry.

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“This fire is resistant to stopping at dozer lines. With the critically dry weather and fuels we are experiencing, firefighters are having to re-evaluate their options,” fire behavior analyst Jim Hanson said on Twitter

The upper eastern edge of the fire continued to move toward Summer Lake, jumping fire lines Thursday and prompting an evacuation order for some portions of Lake County to be raised to “Go now!,” fire officials said.

Fire Information Officer Jacob Welsh watching burning trees in the Bootleg Fire near Silver Creek, Oregon on July 23, 2021.
Fire Information Officer Jacob Welsh watching burning trees in the Bootleg Fire near Silver Creek, Oregon, on July 23, 2021.
Photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images
A firefighting helicopter on a mission to dump water on the Bootleg Fire on July 23, 2021.
A firefighting helicopter on a mission to dump water on the Bootleg Fire on July 23, 2021.
Photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images
Burnt trees in Silver Creek, Oregon on July 23, 2021.
Burnt trees in Silver Creek, Oregon, on July 23, 2021.
Photo by Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Getty Images

“The fire continues to throw challenges at us, and we are going to continue to stay vigilant, work hard, and adapt,” said Joe Hessel, incident commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry Incident Management Team, in a statement.

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