Fire spokesperson Katy O’Hara told Asia Despatch that weather conditions need to change in order for the fire to be extinguished..
“We are experiencing extremely dry conditions with record to near record temperatures. Conditions on the ground due in part to the historic drought have accelerated the fire season. The combination of the weather and fuel conditions have led to rapid growth of the fire,” O’Hara said.
“The scope and scale of the Bootleg Fire will require a season ending weather event such as a significant storm that is either widespread wetting rain or snow, which in southern Oregon typically occurs in the late fall,” she said.
A fellow fire spokesman echoed the sentiment on their efforts to get control of the flames.
“There are some fires currently burning that … will only be extinguished by season-ending snowfall,” fire spokesman Daniel Omdal said, noting the fires are being fed by high amounts of combustible timber, bush and grass combined with limited resources to extinguish flames.
“The Bootleg Fire may be one of those fires,” Omdal told Asia Despatch.
Asia Despatch meteorologist Michael Guy says the weather forecast for this week doesn’t look promising for any assistance with containment of the Bootleg Fire. Temperatures will still be about 10 to 15 degrees above normal, the drought is ongoing, and there’s the added risk from lightning and strong winds from dry thunderstorms.
‘Ready to leave at a moment’s notice’
The county warned residents in the Monument Rock area that they were at evacuation “level 2,” it said.
“You should be ready to leave at a moment’s notice as this level indicates there is a significant danger to your area, and residents should either voluntarily relocate to a shelter or with family/friends outside of the affected area. Residents may have time to gather necessary items, but doing so is at their own risk,” its guidance reads.
Meantime, residents of Picture Rock Pass, the Ana Subdivision, the communities of Summer Lake and Paisley, and south of Paisley along Clover Flat Road to Moss Pass were warned to be aware of “increased fire hazards in the surrounding area.”
PGE equipment may have caused Dixie Fire, utility says
The Dixie Fire, burning in Northern California’s Butte County, has tripled in size to more than 30,000 acres and may have been sparked by equipment managed by Pacific Gas and Electric, according to the utility.
In a preliminary filing with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E detailed an outage alert from Tuesday, July 13, the same day the fire started. A responding utility worker found three blown fuses and a tree leaning into a pole, with a small fire on the ground near the base of the tree.
The fire was reported to authorities and California Fire and Protection sent aerial firefighters to douse the blaze, which had jumped from an initial estimate of 1-2 acres to 10-15, according to the report.
In the days since, the fire has grown exponentially, burning in “remote areas with limited access and steep terrain,” which is hampering access by ground crews, Cal Fire said. Nearly 2,000 fire personnel are fighting the blaze, and have contained about 15% of it, which has charred 30,074 acres.
The wildfires have had a knock-on transport effect, with fuel supply issues causing flight cancellations at Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport in Montana, according to airport director Brian Sprenger.
“Each airline provides their own fuel through their providers but today, some have had their fuel delivery delayed due to increased fire suppression needs throughout the West that has diminished supply in Montana in an already tight fuel environment,” Sprenger said in an email to Asia Despatch Sunday.
“This is a challenge in various parts of the nation and particularly in areas of the country that have seen the economy and tourism recover more quickly. Another contributing factor is the shortage of transport drivers in the nation and high demand in the pipelines for other fuel types as well such as diesel and gasoline,” Sprenger said.