Home WORLD-NEWS Massive Oregon wildfire spreads, but remote location limits damage

Massive Oregon wildfire spreads, but remote location limits damage

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Oregon’s monstrous wildfires have grown to one-third the size of Rhode Island, spreading for miles every day. But evacuations and property losses were minimal compared to much smaller fires in densely populated areas of California.

The overwhelming magnitude of the fire as opposed to its relatively small impact on humans underscores the vastness of the American West and is a reminder that Oregon – which is larger than Britain – is still a largely rural state, despite being mostly known to its largest city, Portland.

The 1,210-square-mile Bootleg Fire, which was 25 percent under control Monday, burns about 300 miles southeast of Portland in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest, a vast expanse of old-growth forests, lakes and wildlife refuges.

If the fire had been in densely populated parts of California, “it would have destroyed thousands of homes by now,” said James Johnston, a researcher at Oregon State University’s forestry school who studies historic wildfires.

“But it’s burning in one of the more remote areas of the lower 48 states. It’s not the Bay Area out there.”

At least 2,000 homes were evacuated at some point during the fire and another 5,000 were threatened. At least 70 homes and more than 100 outbuildings went up in flames. Thick smoke is suffocating the area where both residents and wildlife have been dealing with drought and extreme heat for months. No one has died.

Here are some images from Oregon.

Fight the flames

A firefighting plane returns to base amid massive plumes of smoke after dropping flame retardant on the Bootleg Fire in Bly, Oregon, on July 15.

(Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters)

Firefighters extinguish hot spots in an area hit hard by the wildfire near Bly on Monday.

(David Ryder/Reuters)

Oregon National Guardsmen regroup at the Bootleg Fire Command Center in Chiloquin, Oregon, on July 14.

(Nathan Howard/The Associated Press)

The wildfire burns overnight near Highway 34 in southern Oregon on July 15.

(Jason Pettigrew/Bootleg Fire Incident Command/The Associated Press)

Firefighter Nahum Reyes sleeps under a fire truck after his shift in Bly on July 15.

(Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters)

Osmosis Utilities Services employees Nick Beasley, left, and Cody Mabee attach fire-retardant mesh to a power line near Bly on July 17.

(Payton Bruni/AFP/Getty Images)

Property, lives threatened

Bob Dillon poses for a portrait on the ashes of a extinguished fire that surrounded his home caused by the Bootleg Fire in Beatty, Oregon, on July 16.

(Payton Bruni/AFP/Getty Images)

Fire evacuee Mary Gerlach nurses her horse at a Red Cross disaster relief center in Klamath Falls, Oregon, on July 14.

(Mathieu Lewis-Rolland/Reuters)

A sign thanks firefighters as the Bootleg Fire continues to grow in size near Chiloquin on July 18.

(David Ryder/Reuters)

Cattle graze under a sunset tinged with bushfire smoke near Bly on July 18.

(David Ryder/Reuters)

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