The largest wildfire in the United States continued to burn in southern Oregon Thursday, but low winds and high humidity were helping firefighters. In Northern California, the fire spread to the neighboring state of Nevada.
Oregon’s bootleg fire grew to 1,616 square kilometers (624 sq mi), yet firefighters were improving fire lines.
The fire was also near an area burned during the previous fire, which officials hoped would hinder its spread due to a lack of fuel.
“Over the past few days, firefighters and support personnel have made significant progress in controlling this fire,” incident commander Trainee Joe Pramer of Pacific Northwest Incident Management Team 2 said in a statement. “However, we still have a long road ahead of us to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities.”
The Associated Press reported that in Oregon, 2,000 homes were ordered to be evacuated and 5,000 were still in danger. No death has been reported from the fire.
Smoke and ash were reportedly affecting the air quality up to the east coast.
The fire in Oregon was caused by lightning.
In California, the Tamarack fire south of Lake Tahoe has burned 176 square kilometers (68 sq mi) and crossed the state line in Nevada.
California power company Pacific Gas & Electric announced plans to bury 10,000 miles of its power lines to prevent fires from falling trees.
The cost of burying 10% of the company’s power lines could range from $15 billion to $30 billion. That cost was expected to be passed along to PG&E customers, who already pay some of the highest electricity rates in the country.
The announcement came after the company announced that a tree falling on a power line could cause a major fire.
PG&E’s poorly maintained equipment was to blame for devastating fires in 2017 and 2019, leaving the company bankrupt in 2019.
Since emerging from bankruptcy, the company has faced criticism for not addressing the problem of trees near its power lines, which it has promised to fix.
Some information in this report has been obtained from The Associated Press.