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Western wildfires: Crews making progress Bootleg Fire in OR as Tamarack Fire in CA spreads

Bootleg fire
Posted at 8:13 AM, Jul 23, 2021

BLY, Ore. — Crews are making progress against the nation’s largest wildfire in Oregon, even as fires in neighboring California continue to threaten homes.

The Bootleg Fire, which has destroyed an area half the size of Rhode Island, is 40% surrounded after burning some 70 homes.

Fire officials say they've surrounded much of the bottom half.

An upper eastern edge is still advancing toward thousands of homes, but authorities say the pace is slower than last week when the fire exploded.

As firefighters continue to battle the blaze, Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that officials are now dealing with an outbreak of COVID-19. Nine firefighters tested positive for the virus on Thursday, prompting state officials to set up quarantine areas for those who had been sickened.

The Bootleg fire has burned nearly 400,000 acres in Oregon.

In California, blowing embers from the Tamarack Fire south of Lake Tahoe ignited a fast-moving spot fire, prompting a new evacuation near Topaz Lake on the California-Nevada line.

According to USA Today, the Tamarack Fire has burned more than 68 square miles in California and Nevada.

The fires pose an ominous sign for the 2021 western wildfire season, which typically stretches into the fall months.