Western wildfires explode in size

(CNN) Right now more than eighty large wildfires are raging in thirteen states. In Oregon, crews are battling the largest inferno in the nation; the Bootleg Fire which has scarred nearly half a million acres.

Andrew Phelps with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management said, “Conditions out here are extreme.”

Right now, more than 2,000 firefighters and personnel are on the front lines of the Bootleg Fire. It’s a fire so massive its smoke is taking over the skies clear across the country in New York City.

Governor Kate Brown said, “Right now, this is the fourth largest fire to burn in Oregon since 1900 and the weather conditions: windy and dry with lightning are truly problematic.”

“We are facing a long, difficult fire season,” Doug Grafe with the Oregon Department of Forestry said. “Last year the lion’s head fire, the largest fire on the landscape, burned 204,000 acres, and we’re close to doubling that in this one fire alone.”

The inferno is exploding in size, forcing firefighters to fall back to safety zones for ten days in a row now. The incident commander says fighting the Bootleg Fire is a marathon, not a sprint.

To the south in Northern California, the Dixie Fire has nearly doubled in size since Monday, becoming so extreme it created a storm over itself.

And the Tamarack Fire sparked by a lightning strike near the California-Nevada border is growing so fast it’s triggering last-minute mandatory evacuations.

Juanita Hatfield evacuated due to the Tamarack Fire. She said, “We don’t have really clothes or anything like that. Fortunately, we have somewhere to go but, you know, other people I know aren’t so fortunate.”

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