The intense Bootleg Fire continuously raging and destroying parts of Southeastern Oregon is only continuing to burn a treacherous path of destruction through nature. It is currently the largest wildfire burning in the U.S.
As of now, the Bootleg Fire is currently about 377 square miles, which, to put into perspective, is larger than New York City. In addition to its massive stretch along Oregon, the fire is also mostly uncontained. Firefighters have struggled to put out the fire and have only tamed about 7%.
According to AP News, as of Friday, there were 67 homes and 117 outbuildings destroyed. There are active flames that are surging on the 200 miles of the perimeter of the fire. The Bootleg Fire is actually growing at a rate of about 1,000 acres every single hour.
Along the way, it is swallowing up wildlife, homes, and other property in a massive blaze. There are also fire clouds that are looming overhead. On Thursday, crews present trying to tame the fire actually had to flee. These dangerous fire clouds actually started to collapse, which essentially means that flying embers were circulating as well as strong downdrafts.
The Bootleg Fire started about 10 days ago in the Fremont-Winema National Forest where it has destroyed almost 250,000 acres of natural land.
Climate Change and Wildfires
According to Daily Mail, the fire doubles in size almost daily as strong winds also continue to contribute to the problem. The fire is moving at a nearly unheard of rate. Every five seconds it covers an area about the size of a traditional football field.
As of now, a solution to the fiery columns of destruction seems far into the future. There have been over 2,000 people forced to evacuate their homes to escape the fire’s path.
So, what is it that is causing this fire to burn so long and so intensely?
A majority of the reasoning has to do with the threats of climate change on the environment. The fire is burning along an area that is threatened by extreme drought, which has become common for a lot of the West as of now. These dry conditions and the heat waves gripping the country, a result of climate change, make it incredibly hard to battle a beast of a wildfire. As this issue continues to grip the world, fires will grow more destructive and more unstoppable. The Bootleg Fire is a look into the future of wildfires and forest fires.
There have been about a dozen fires that have burned in the West with more likely in the future.
The hottest place on the planet, Death Valley, even hit a record temperature this weekend of 130°F. It is close to the all-time record of 134.1°F that was recorded in 1913 in the California Desert.