‘Megafire’: Bootleg Fire in Oregon nearly doubles in size over 24 hours, encompasses over 143,000 acres


Members of the Keizer Fire District helping as mutual aid responders near the Bootleg Fire in Klamath County on July 9, 2021. (Credit: Oregon State Fire Marshal)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – As the hot and dry conditions continue in Southern Oregon, the area’s Bootleg Fire, in Klamath County, has grown more than 66,000 acres in 24 hours.

On Saturday morning, the fire was reportedly near 77,000 acres large. The wildfire grew dramatically throughout the day, now burning up to 143,607 acres total. This large acreage now qualifies the fire as a “megafire.

At least 3,000 structures in the small towns of Sprague River and Beatty are threatened by the fire, officials confirmed on Friday; however, the majority are under Level 2 evacuation notices.

Fueling the fire is timber and dry-climate brush, but officials said the fuel has record-low moisture content. Officials say the conditions escalated Saturday afternoon, resulting in life-threatening risk to the safety of residents, visitors, firefighters and other emergency responders. 

The Oregon State Fire Marshal called for help from firefighters around the state. The Multnomah County Task Force was deployed — including fire crews from Portland, Gresham and Corbett — along with firefighters from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue.

“All fire departments have a dual responsibility during wildfire season,” Portland Fire Chief Sara Boone said. “The primary mission is to provide local emergency response coverage as well an obligation under the state’s emergency mobilization plan, to help during wildfire conflagration.”

As of Sunday, about 926 personnel were responding to the wildfire.

Evacuation notices

Level 3 (“Go Now”): Near the town of Sprague River, including the Upper Tableland area north of Oregon Pines Road, and north of the town of Beatty, including the Sycan Estates area.

Level 2 (“Get Set”): Near the north side of Beatty, including the area north of Highway 140 and on both sides of Godowa Springs Road, and north of Sprague River, including the Klamath Forest Estates/Moccasin Hills area.

Officials say as the fire advances, there is a high probability for additional evacuation notices in the area.

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