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Rain slows growth of Oregon’s Bootleg Fire, some evacuations lifted

Firefighters set controlled fires over the weekend to assist their efforts to control and limit the spread of the Bootleg Fire.
Firefighters set controlled fires over the weekend to assist their efforts to control and limit the spread of the Bootleg Fire.

Rainfall in south-central Oregon has helped slow the growth of the massive Bootleg Fire in the Klamath Basin.

The wet weather is keeping grass and other light vegetation wet. Winds are also slowing down. Local firefighting agencies are even planning to scale back some of their firefighting efforts.

Klamath County has lifted all evacuations for its side of the fire. Some evacuations in Lake County remain in place. An interactive map of evacuations is available here.

“We’re certainly cautiously optimistic that those days of extraordinarily long runs of this fire are behind us, but we’re not going to become complacent and we don’t want area residents to become complacent either,” said incident spokesman Al Nash.

Still, Nash warned, this small bit of rain is just a drop in the bucket. “One day of good weather that benefits the firefighting efforts doesn’t negate all of the ongoing drought conditions,” he said.

Nash said warmer days are ahead, and a small bit of rain won’t do much to alleviate the extreme drought that’s contributing to the massive wildfire.

The Bootleg Fire has grown to more than 413,000 acres as of Wednesday morning and was just over halfway contained. It was still the largest wildfire in the nation. Nash said it’s destroyed over 160 homes so far.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting