Washington, July 22 | Oregon’s Bootleg wildfire, currently the largest active blaze in the US, has scorched over 390,000 acres in the US state’s Lake and Klamath counties with 32 per cent containment, officials said.
The blaze, which erupted on July 6 due to lightning, has burnt a total of 394,407 acres after merging with the nearby Log Fire, reports Xinhua news agency.
“It’s shaping up to be another difficult wildfire season. And unfortunately, we’re responding to new fires as we continue to recover from last year’s devastating fire season,” Oregon Governor Kate Brown said in a briefing.
Brown, along with the state fire marshal and director of emergency management, briefed the public on Oregon’s response to a “historic” start to wildfire season, citing drought emergencies in 19 counties so far with more expected.
“It’s mid-July and already nearly 450,000 acres (about 1,821 square km) have burned across the state,” Brown said.
“The drought conditions across Oregon are really driving the fire potential,” said Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection with the Oregon Department of Forestry.
“It really is the foundation of why we’re at where we’re at today.”
According to Brown, the climate change “is playing out before our very eyes” and exacerbating the drought.
Bootleg is one of more than 80 major fires raging across 13 US states, spurred by heatwaves and high winds, the BBC reported.
Wildfires have already scorched more than 1.2 million acres of the country this year, mainly in western states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
More than 4,000 blazes have been recorded by the organisation so far in 2021, which is almost double last year’s total.
In California, five times as many acres have burned compared with the same period last year.