‘Bootleg Fire’ In Oregon Is So Intense, It’s Creating Its Own Weather
As a heat wave continues to fuel wildfires in the United States, a fire in Oregon is proving to have a bigger impact on the environment than expected.
The massive Bootleg Fire in Oregon has become so intense that it is now creating its own weather. According to data from InciWeb, the fire has scorched 660 square miles of land and grew to become 388,350 acres in the span of a single night. The fire now covers more land than the city of Los Angeles, that’s half the entire state of Rhode Island.
CNN meteorologist Michael Guy said that temperatures surrounding the region of the Bootleg Fire will remain 10 degrees hotter that usual for the next 38 hours. This means that dry storms could take place, without precipitation that is necessary for the fires to subside.
Oregon officials have said that they expect to see ‘aggressive surface spread’ of the fire ‘with pyrocumulus development.’ What this means is that the extreme heat generated from the fire’s flames will cause air to rapidly rise. Pyrocumulus clouds will form and will create thunderstorms with strong winds and lightning.
Marcus Kauffman, a spokesman for the state forestry department, said ‘the fire is so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather. Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.’
Kauffman now is expecting the fire to continue expanding as the drought provides ample conditions for it to grow. ‘The fire is burning is dense fuels that are extremely dry from a prolonged drought. Up until today, the weather has been consistently hot, dry with near single digit humidity,’ he said.
Fighting this fire, which began on July 6 at the Fremont-Winema National Forest, has proven to be a tough task for the team in Oregon. 67 homes have been destroyed, as well as 117 smaller sheds and garages.
Rob Allen, incident commander for PNW Incident Management Team 2, gave an update on Tuesday and revealed how difficult it’s been to halt the fire. ‘Fighting this fire is a marathon, not a sprint,’ he said. ‘We’re in this for as long as it takes to safely confine this monster.”
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