Bootleg Fire Update, August 2, 2021
Location: 28 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, OR
Fireline total: 323 miles
Size: 413,762 acres, 647 square miles
51 miles active fire edge, 272 miles of contained line
(Klamath Falls, OR) – Yesterday crews reported smokes from smoldering and torching fuels inside the burn area as they widen the fire line and soak remaining heat and flames. Dozers continue to straighten the ragged edge of the fire line on the east side for improved containment. If a spot fire were to start, or if the existing fire jumped the line, contingency lines are in place to stop its progression. Due to the crews’ tremendous efforts over the past few days, the percent containment has increased and the miles of active fire edge have decreased significantly.
Because of the Bootleg Fire’s size and local conditions, it still holds a lot of heat. Even though progress has been made and fire advisors are confident in the containment measures, severe conditions remain for fire hazard. “Megafires” like this do not usually burn out until late fall or early winter when moisture increases and temperature decreases.
“For local residents, warm, dry, windy weather in this area is not a surprise,” said Tom Wright, Incident Meteorologist of the National Weather Service, Medford. “In fact, this is a common weather pattern, but it usually occurs in September—not the end of July and early August.” But this year is different. Several events led to the extremely dry conditions this year. Klamath and Lake counties are in an “exceptional” drought and have been in drought conditions for more than two years. Rainfall is at barely half the normal amount for the water year, and it is unlikely that the percentage will catch up, since the remainder of the year is the dry season. The record heat event in late June that included three consecutive days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit also had a major impact on drying trees, vegetation, and soil.
Today’s weather will include isolated afternoon showers and thunderstorms with scant amounts of rain. Over the next few days, temperatures will increase, humidity will decrease, and winds will pick up, creating critical fire weather conditions. Fuels around the fire are nearly 100% receptive to ignition if lightning strikes or an ember lands.
Evacuations: In Lake County, a Level 3 evacuation remains in place for all areas around the Bootleg Fire perimeter. The Level 3 extends to areas immediately adjacent to the fire line in all directions and includes Yamsay Mountain, Thompson Reservoir, and the Sycan Marsh to the top of Winter Rim. No evacuations are in place in Klamath County. Evacuations are dynamic; the best way to view the evacuation designation boundaries and details is on the interactive map available at tinyurl.com/bootlegevac
Red Cross Evacuation Shelters: For information or assistance: 1-800-Red-Cross (www.redcrossblog.org/disaster)
Insurance Assistance: For additional information on submitting insurance claims after losing your home or property to a wildfire, please visit https://dfr.oregon.gov/insure/home/storm/Pages/wildfires.aspx or call the state’s team of consumer advocates at 888-877-4894 (toll-free).
Closures: The Fremont-Winema National Forest is now open south of Oregon State Route 140. Closures remain in effect north of the highway to provide for public safety and the safety of firefighters. The full closure order and map are available at https://www.fs.usda.gov/alerts/fremont-winema/alerts-notices
Smoke: A change in weather patterns could start as early as tonight, as Tuesday could be a warmer, drier, and winder day than the past several. This could impact fire behavior in a way that will put more smoke into the air. Today will be generally good to moderate air quality day. This could change tonight as hazy conditions are expected. Smokier conditions close to the fire could bring back more periods when the air is Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups (USG) on Tuesday. See: fires.airfire.org/outlooks/southcentraloregon
Fire Information Public Phone: 541-482-1331 Fire Information Media Phone: 971-727-7255
Twitter: twitter.com/BootlegFireInfo Hashtags: #BootlegFire #FireYear2021