Wildfires in US, Canada stretch firefighter resources

New DelhiUpdated: Jul 17, 2021, 10:12 PM IST

Story highlights

The Bootleg Fire covers the area bigger than New York City

Wildfires are scorching vast areas of drought-hit western United States and Canad and firefighting resources are being severely stretched, authorities said on Saturday.

2,200 firefighters are struggling to control the vast Bootleg Fire that's raging in southern Oregon near the border with California. Some firefighters were forced to retreat.

California has vowed to send firefighters to help in Oregon. California itself is hit by wildfires.

And Canada was bringing in some 100 firefighters from Mexico to bolster their exhausted counterparts in northwestern Ontario, provincial authorities announced.

The Bootleg Fire, by far the biggest active blaze in the US, is covering 274,000 acres. It is an area larger than New York City. The fire remains just seven per cent controlled, as per Inciweb website.

"(The) fire remains very active with significant acreage increases due to hot, dry, and breezy conditions," the official site said.

It has destroyed at least 20 homes.

Authorities said the huge blaze had generated ominous and dangerous "fire clouds" reaching miles in the air, able to spawn huge outbreaks of dry lightning and "fire tornadoes." 

Firefighter commander Rob Allen noted that the fire's 200-mile (320-kilometer) perimeter is "an enormous amount of line to build and hold."

"We are continuing to use every resource, from dozers to air tankers," he said Friday.

"We have had record heat, and just all the worst possible conditions at one time," Suzanne Flory, a US Forest Service spokesperson, told the Oregonian newspaper.

Meantime, dangerous dry lightning storms were forecast in California.

(With inputs from agencies)