Fire crews respond to Bootleg Fire burning northeast of Sprague River

Photo courtesy Angela Swinford Shaw Parks

The Bootleg Fire has exploded to 3,000 acres in Klamath County, Level 1 and 2 evacuation notices issued.

Posted: Jul 6, 2021 3:39 PM
Updated: Jul 6, 2021 10:29 PM

CHILOQUIN, Ore. —

UPDATE: The Bootleg Fire has exploded to 3,000 Tuesday night with no containment, according to the South Central Management Partnership (SCOFMP). The cause of this fire is still under investigation. The fire is currently only burning on National Forest System lands. However, multiple structures are threatened east of the fire.

At the request of the Bootleg Fire Incident Commander, Klamath County Emergency Management has issued a Level 1 (GET READY) Evacuation notice for the Sycan Estates area north of the town of Beatty in eastern Klamath County. Level 1 is notice for residents in the affected area that wildfire is potentially near them and they should begin preparations to leave should the Incident Commander believe further increase in evacuation levels is warranted.

In addition, two property owners closer to the fire area were advised that their properties are under Level 2 (GET SET) evacuation notice. Level 2 is notice that the danger has dramatically increased and they need to be prepared to leave at any moment.

Firefighters are continuing to work through the night fighting the Bootleg Fire. A Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered. The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in mixed conifer and lodgepole pine. Fire behavior includes running, torching and spotting.

Smoke from the fire is highly visible from Oregon State Highway 140, Sprague River Highway, Chiloquin and the surrounding area.
Drivers should expect increased traffic in the area from fire equipment and are asked to use caution driving in the area. Area residents and Forest visitors are asked to avoid the fire area, including Forest Roads 44, 46 and 3462, as well as Head of the River Campground and Sycan Crossing dispersed campground.

INITIAL REPORT: The Bootleg fire continued to grow within the Fremont-Winema National Forest northeast of Sprague River on Tuesday afternoon.

According to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP), the fire was first reported around 1:45 p.m. By 5 p.m. it was estimated at more than 100 acres with no conainment, burning within national forestland on the south slopes of Fuego Mountain.

"The fire is burning in steep, rugged terrain in mixed conifer and lodgepole pine. Fire behavior includes running, torching and spotting," SCOFMP said.

A pillar of smoke from the Bootleg Fire is easily visible from Highway 140, Sprague River Road, in Chiloquin and surrounding areas.

Multiple air and ground firefighting resources were fighting the fire on Tuesday afternoon, SCOFMP said, including four heavy airtankers and three single-engine airtankers. Fire crews were slated to work on the fire through the night, and a Type 2 Incident Management Team has been ordered.

Officials said that no evacuations are in effect and the fire is, for the time being, burning within U.S. Forest Service land. Regardless, SCOFMP cautioned that there is increased firefighting traffic in the area and drivers are asked to be careful.

"South Central Oregon is continuing to have an active and early fire season," SCOFMP said. "Area residents and visitors are asked to use extreme caution with anything that could spark a wildfire. Suspected wildfires should be reported immediately to 911."

The cause of the Bootleg Fire is still under investigation.

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