FIREFIGHTERS across the West are scrambling to contain growing wildfires as the Oregon Bootleg fire has grown to cover 143,000 acres and two firefighters in Arizona were killed fighting the blaze.
Oregon is facing dangerous conditions as the Bootleg fire has entered its fifth day and has eaten up 143,607 acres of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
The Oregon fire has eaten up over 143,000 acresCredit: AP
Oregon officials are arresting people who refuse to evacuate
Firefighters battling the Oregon blaze have been forced to retreat to safety zones and some residents who refused to evacuate the area may be cited or even arrested, KTVZ reports.
Fire incident commander Al Lawson said: “The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before.
“We understand the frustration of the community as the fire continues to grow.
“We also need to ensure our firefighters are able to engage safely so that they can return home at the end of this assignment to their families,” Lawson added.
Officials said the Oregon fire was ‘among the most extreme’
Two firefighters were killed in ArizonaCredit: AP
The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office announced in a news release Saturday afternoon that it would take the rare step of “citing or arresting” those who refused to leave, after some residents of the Eastern county had ignored warnings.
“We advise that if you are in a Level 3 evacuation area PLEASE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY,” the county’s Emergency Manager Brandon Fowler said in a news release.
“There is a VERY high probability that we may not be able to get to you with additional warnings.”
It comes as two firefighters in Arizona died when their plane crashed as they were monitoring the Cedar Basin Fire from above.
The Cedar Basin Fire began after a thunderstormCredit: AP
The firefighters were acting as “eyes in the sky” for those on the ground battling the inferno, bureau spokesperson Dolores Garcia told AZ Central.
“The Bureau of Land Management is currently working with other local, state and federal agencies to respond to a fatal aircraft accident associated with the Cedar Basin Fire near Wikieup, Arizona,” the statement reads.
“The accident occurred around noon today (July 10) and involved an air attack aircraft performing aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the fire.”
“Two crew members were on board and we are sad to report there were no survivors. We will provide additional information pending next of kin notification.
Firefighters in Oregon had to return to safety zonesCredit: AP:Associated Press
“Our hearts go out to the families of our brave wildland firefighters,” statement concluded.
The Cedar Basin Fire began Friday after a thunderstorm, and has now consumed 300 acres of land about 14 miles east of Wikieup, according to CNN.
Meanwhile, the Tennant Fire continues to rage through the Klamath National Forest in Northern California.
As of 6am on July 10, the Tennant Fire has burned 10,580 acres and is 95 percent contained, the U.S. Forest Service reports.
A shocking video posted online by National Weather Service Medford shows the moment a “fire whirl” ripped up trees into a fiery tornado on June 29.
NWS Medford explained the unique occurrence was a result of the Tennant Fire, which started one day before in the Klamath National Forest in northern California’s, Siskiyou County.
“Fire whirls range in size from less than one foot to more than 500 feet in diameter. Large fire whirls have the intensity of a small tornado.”
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