KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – The Bootleg Fire exploding over 50,000 acres overnight– bringing the total to 201,953 acres. The fire has destroyed 25 more structures in the last 24-hours bringing the total to 75.
The Bootleg Fire is the country’s largest burning wildfire grabbing national attention. With unpredictable fire movement, the week-long fire still has no containment. As the smoke is settling in multiple fire agencies are strategizing how to get ahead of the fire. The Bootleg Fire jumps in growth overnight, crossing into Lake County.
“We’re trying to make headway, but this fire just pushes on and on. Since ambers are in front of this fire it’s very challenging,” said Gert Zoutendijk a Bootleg Fire official.
He said with flames progressively spreading firefighters are facing several challenges. Including a recent 18 mile long fire front, which held up crews.
“When we put firefighters in front of a flame front like that it’s a dangerous situation. They have to retreat, move out, and go to a safety zone,” said Zoutendijk
Two more agencies are helping manage the Bootleg Fire starting Tuesday. They are breaking the fire in half. The north team is focusing on the wildland, while the south team protects structures.
“Because of the complexity and the size of this fire, the incident managers have decided to have all four management teams manage this fire,” said Zoutendijk.
Firefighters aren’t just fighting flames, they are rescuing people who remained in Level 3 Evacuation zones.
“They had fire on both sides. They had a little bit of way, but it was approaching. Due to the trees that had been fallen over the roads, they could not get out,” said Zoutendijk.
He said if fire crews weren’t in the area NBC5 News would be reporting a different story. First responders are encouraging everyone to follow evacuation orders not just for their safety but for everyone.