Image of Bootleg Fire taken Thursday night as the pyrocumulus cloud collapsed. Image taken on 15/07/2021 by Oregon OSFM.
Firefighters wrapped up Friday to control a raging hell in southeastern Oregon that stretches about 24,000 acres a day in windy conditions, one of many wildfires across the West that are straining resources.
The smoke and heat of the massive fire have been generating clouds of pyrocumulonimbus – called “clouds of fire” – which can reach up to 10 kilometers in the sky and is visible from more than 160 kilometers away.
In accordance with Oregon Live, a giant cloud of fire over the Bootleg fire collapsed Thursday night, forcing firefighters to withdraw for their own safety, said Ryan Berlin, a spokesman for the Oregon Department of Forestry.
This week meteorologists have detected larger, more extreme forms of these fire clouds creating their own unstable weather system. When this column of smoke collapses, Berlin said, it produces powerful downward currents that can throw embers through unburned parts of the landscape.
This extreme fire behavior, including the formation of more fire clouds, is expected to persist on Friday and worsen until the weekend. “It’s definitely a‘ surveillance ’situation,” Berlin said. “We pulled people off the line while they were doing what they were doing.”
Bootleg Fire continues to grow at a rapid pace
The Bootleg fire, which started on July 6, northeast of Klamath Falls, has incinerated 241,497 acres since Friday morning. Containment remains at 7.0 percent. The Bootleg Fire dwarfs a handful of other fires that burn collectively on more than 26,000 acres across Oregon.
CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller says the massive flame has spread around 24,000 acres a day on average, or just over 1,000 acres every hour. At least 20 houses had already been destroyed along with another 54 outbuildings and put 2,000 more at risk
Communities around Lake Summer and the town of Paisley were being evacuated, officials said. Bootleg Fire Facebook page. Due to “extreme fire behavior.”
“The perimeter of the Bootleg fire is more than 200 miles long. It’s a huge amount of lines to build and maintain, ”said Rob Allen, incident commander for Team 2’s incident management team in the Pacific Northwest, in an online update.