BLY, Ore. — The nation’s largest wildfire raged through southern Oregon on Friday, but crews were curtailing some night operations as hard work and weak winds helped douse the flames while the forest The fire continued to threaten homes in neighboring California.
Fire officials said the bootleg fire, which has destroyed an area half the size of Rhode Island, engulfed 40% after burning about 70 homes, mainly cabins.
At least 2,000 homes were ordered to be evacuated during the fire and an additional 5,000 were threatened.
The upper eastern edge of the fire continued to move toward Summer Lake, jumping fire lines on Thursday and prompting evacuation orders for parts of Lake County to “go now!” Fire officials said.
Fire Information Officer Angela Goldman said winds of up to 10 mph (16 kph) could propel the flames through the wood, but not at speeds seen last week, when wind-driven fires broke out. grew rapidly.
The fire, which was sparked by lightning, spread for 4 miles (6 kilometers) a day due to strong winds and severely dry weather.
There was good news at the bottom of the 624-square-mile (1,616-square-kilometer) fire. The crew had stopped in the control lines and in the lower southeast, the crew was able to gain a substantial foothold, allowing them to engage in “24-7 run-and-gun” fighting, with fire information officers in night patrols. allowed to cut. Sarah Gracie said.
“For us, this is a huge step forward,” she said. “Working in the thick black forest in the middle of the night is not so easy.”
She said the crew would be able to rest and contribute to the day’s attacks.
“We have red flag warnings (extreme fire hazard) day after day and we don’t have red flag warnings today,” Gracie said on Thursday. However, low humidity and high temperature remained a cause of concern.
Gracie said that part of the fire had also burned in an area darkened by a previous fire, creating a gap in the fuel and reducing the spread of the flames through grass, shrubbery and wood.
In California, the Tamarack Fire burned more than 78 square miles (202 square kilometers) of wood and head-high chaparral in national forest land south of Lake Tahoe. It erupted on July 4 and was one of nearly two dozen blasts caused by lightning strikes.
Fire has destroyed at least 10 buildings in Alpine County. Fire officials expected active or extreme fire behavior Friday as afternoon gusts and temperatures approach 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius).
Flames ignited a new site Thursday afternoon that jumped off a highway north of Topaz Lake on the California-Nevada line, prompting a new evacuation order at the Topaz Lake estate and neighboring areas.
The fire was less than a mile from the estates in Douglas County, Nevada, a community of about 1,200 people.
“Firefighters on the ground and aircraft are battling rising space under exceptionally difficult weather and fueling conditions,” the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest said in an update.
It was estimated that the new fire had already burned about 4 square miles (10 square kilometres).
Mandatory evacuation orders were issued Thursday in Plumas County in the Sierra Nevada, west of the Nevada Line as the Dixie Fire continued to explosively move east, becoming California’s largest wildfire ever this year.
“This fire is taking us away in no time,” incident commander Shannon Prather said Thursday evening.
As of Friday morning, the fire had burned more than 223 square miles (577 square kilometers), destroyed at least eight buildings and threatened at least 1,500 more, fire officials said.
Gavin Newsom’s office announced Thursday evening that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection had acquired 12 additional firefighters and nine were immediately doused. Cal Fire now has over 60 airplanes and helicopters.
Extremely dry conditions and recent heat waves associated with climate change have made it harder to fight wildfires. Climate change has made the West hotter and drier over the past 30 years and will continue to make the weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.
Associated Press videographer Heaven Daly contributed from Gardnerville, Nevada.