KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. – The Bootleg Fire in Klamath County more than doubled in size overnight. As it continues to grow, it’s threatening 3,000 structures.
The Burrell family owns a cabin in Chiloquin. It’s been in their family for 6 generations. They just found out today their home is saved thanks to firefighters. Elizabeth Meadows and Danielle Burrell live in the Rogue Valley full-time. But their family owns a cabin in Chiloquin.
“Our great-grandfather bought that property back in the 50s, he was a fish and game for the state police,” said Meadows, “We call it a cabin, but it’s actually a railroad car”.
When the Bootleg Fire broke out in Klamath County they knew it was serious.
“I knew immediately we were in trouble because that is a very dense fuel starter there,” said Meadows.
They got a hold of a firefighter who kept them in the loop of what was going on in the area. But the fire got too close for comfort. The aunt and niece duo told NBC5 News firefighters put a sprinkler system down to protect against the flames.
“Yesterday I just kinda cried a little bit, just because they’re risking their lives for us,” said Meadows.
The women believe that a large amount of defensible space around the property made a huge difference.
“I think that’s kinda what helped this fire just skip right by our cabin,” said Burrell.
But while their cabin is safe, the Bootleg Fire continues to grow. It more than doubled in size overnight into Friday.
Firefighters are facing several challenges battling the Bootleg Fire, as they try to protect hundreds of homes and other buildings. Challenges include extremely dry terrain and significant heat.
“We can’t even look at experiential data to say this is what we can expect because a lot of these numbers we haven’t measured before,” said Dan Omdal from Incident Management Team 10.
The Bootleg Fire is so unpredictable and dangerous, a spokesperson told NBC5 News at times they have even had to pull crews back. Bootleg Fire officials are urging everyone to follow evacuation orders if they get a Level 3 ‘go’ order, they are asked to leave the area immediately.