Fire crews increase containment to 22% on massive Bootleg Fire

Fire crews increase containment to 22% but the wildfire also grew to over 273 thousand acres.

Posted: Jul 16, 2021 9:49 AM
Updated: Jul 16, 2021 10:55 PM

UPDATE: 7/16/21 10:45 PM -- Fire officials say the containment of the Bootleg Fire has increased to 22% after fire crews were successful in laying fire lines. The acreage of the fire has also increased up to 273,582 acres.

Klamath County Office of Emergency Management says the Bootleg Fire has burned 67 homes and 117 outbuildings in Klamath County and not all burned areas have been surveyed yet.

Oregon State Fire Marshal's Office / Facebook


BEATTY, Ore. — For the fourth day in a row, firefighters were forced to fall back before the onslaught of the Bootleg Fire as wild winds continued to drive it east and north. By Friday morning, the fire's size was estimated at 241,497 acres with containment still at 7 percent.

Fire officials said that a large pyrocumulus cloud above the fire's eastern edge "collapsed" in the late afternoon on Thursday, showering areas to the east of the main fire with burning embers. Authorities expanded evacuation zones deeper into Lake County for the communities of Summer Lake and Spring Lake, as crews worked to build dozer lines around spot fires over the 34 Road on the fire's southeastern edge.

On the north side, crews fought to contain "very active surface fire" that was spotting up to a half mile ahead of the main fire, pushed by dry southern winds.

“The Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long — that’s an enormous amount of line to build and hold.” said Rob Allen, Incident Commander for the Pacific Northwest Area Incident Management Team 2. “We are continuing to use every resource from dozers to air tankers to engage where it’s safe to do so especially with the hot, dry, windy conditions predicted to worsen into the weekend.”

Containment efforts were more promising on the west and south sides of the massive fire. On the southern edge, winds pushed the fire back onto itself. To the west, firefighters held containment lines and patrolled for hotspots.

Fire officials said that crews will be working to protect and wrap houses near Paisley and Summer Lake as a precaution ahead of more potential fire growth toward those communities. There are more structural firefighters slated to arrive on the east side to assist on Friday.

According to the latest from fire officials, the Bootleg Fire has destroyed 11 homes and 35 other buildings based on initial damage assessments. Another three homes and one outbuilding structure have been damaged.

With evacuations changing rapidly over the day, fire officials recommend that area residents consult the interactive evacuation map here.

Evacuation shelters are located at the following locations: Klamath County Fairgrounds, La Pine Middle School, and a shelter will be available later tonight at the Daly Middle School Auditorium, 220 South H Street.

Incident commanders decided Monday to split the firefight into two zones to the north and south. The Oregon Department of Forestry's Incident Management Team 1 took control of the fire's southern zone. Pacific Northwest Team 10 remains in command of the northern zone, while a team from the Oregon State Fire Marshal's office will continue to focus on protecting homes and structures, with almost 2,000 considered threatened.

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