The Bootleg Fire was only one of many wildfires that erupted across the U.S. West.
Crews were forced to flee from the Oregon fire line on Thursday night after a hazardous "fire cloud" began to fall, threatening them and their lives with strong downdrafts or flying embers. A preliminary Friday review revealed that the Bootleg Fire had destroyed 67 homes in one county and 117 outbuildings. The losses in another county were being counted by authorities. There, the flames are raging at 4 miles (6 km) per day.
Holly Krake, a fire spokesperson, said that the conflagration forced more than 2,000 people to evacuate. It is also threatening 5,000 structures, including smaller structures, in rural areas just north of California's border. She said active flames are rising along the fire's perimeter for 200 miles (322 km). It is expected to merge with another smaller but just as explosive fire by nightfall.
The Bootleg Fire covers 377 square miles (976 km2), which is more than New York City's area. It is also large and scattered.
Krake stated that fire growth will continue over miles and miles worth of active fire lines. "We continue to add thousands of acres per day, and it has potential every day, looking ahead into the weekend to continue those 3-to-4-mile runs."
Through Saturday night, a Red Flag warning was issued for this area.
For a week, firefighters have been unable to get to work due to inferno. The inferno caused erratic winds and dangerous fire behavior.
Krake stated that the fire-induced clouds are expected to persist and get worse over the weekend.
The fire grew rapidly and doubled in size within a few days. Thursday's strong winds pushed the flames even faster. Similar winds to Friday were forecast at 30 mph (48 km/h).
It is burning an area north-west of the California border, which has been ravaged by extreme drought like the majority of the American West.
Extremely dry conditions, heat waves linked to climate change have made it difficult to fight wildfires. The West has become warmer and dryer over the past 30 year due to climate change. Wildfires will be more common and more destructive in the future.
The fire was most active along its northeastern flank. It was pushed by winds to the south towards the rural communities of Summer Lake or Spring Lake. Paisley, which was to the east of fire, was also at threat. The entire population of Lake County is approximately 8,000. It contains all the towns.
As wildfires take hold in the West, the Bootleg Fire is just one of the more than a dozen fires currently burning in Washington, Oregon, and California. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there were 70 active large fires or complexes of multiple fires, which have burned close to 1,659 sq miles (4,297 km) in the U.S.
Firefighters in the Pacific Northwest said that they faced conditions similar to late summer or autumn in early July.
California's Tamarack Fire, which erupted in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, quickly grew rapidly to 2.5 miles (6.5 kilometers) by Friday. This prompted evacuations in Markleeville, Alpine County. Saturday's "Death Ride" was cancelled due to the blaze. It is a 103-mile (165.76 km) bike ride through the California Alps, crossing three Sierra Nevada mountain passes.