July 21 (Hfrance.fr) - A destructive forest fire in the 'Oregon, which is the largest among dozens raging in the drought-parched western United States in recent weeks, was struck by lightning but brooded for days before it hit. be detected, forestry officials said on Wednesday.
The origin of the so-called Bootleg fire, which was first reported on the 6th July in Fremont- The national forest of Winema, some 250 miles south of Portland, was discovered as ground crews made more and more progress in reducing the blaze.
The crews of the strike benefited from calmer winds. , cooler temperatures and slightly higher humidity over the past two days to expand and strengthen containment lines around the periphery of the blaze, incident commanders reported in their latest summary.
Although the fire continued to spread, its growth was slowed down as the flames advanced through an old fire-marked area with less vegetables are available for burning, officials said.
As of Wednesday, the Bootleg had charred 395,463 acres (160,038 hectares) of dry brush and timber. Tinder - an area well over half the size of Rhode Island. At this size, the blaze was only a few hundred acres away from becoming the third largest on record in Oregon since 1900.
It also blackened far more area than one of the roughly 80 large active forest fires currently reported in 13 western states this week. These fires, along with the Bootleg, collectively burned more than 1.3 million acres (526,000 hectares) in an unusually heavy start to the fire season in the West which experts say is symptomatic of climate change.
Although hot, dry and windy weather played a key role in fueling the wave of fires forest this summer, many were ignited by lightning.
The cause of the Bootleg fire had been listed under investigation until Wednesday, when authorities revealed his ironically humble beginnings.
Forest Service investigators determined that it was triggered by lightning from a thunderstorm that was previously known to have started a small fire nearby that was extinct on June 30, Oregon Forest Department spokesman Marcus Kauffman told Hfrance.fr.
Unknown to authorities at At the time, a "reserve " fire that would eventually grow in the Bootleg was smoldering unnoticed - apparently hidden under mounds of pine needles, cones and humus on the forest floor - before it was detected and reported on July 6, Kauffman said.
Although no fatalities or serious injuries have occurred been reported, the Bootleg destroyed at least 67 homes and over 100 outbuildings and other structures.
Some 3,400 homes remained classified as threatened, many in progress evacuatio n orders or notices to residents to be ready to flee at any time.
An army of some 2,200 people, supported by water-dropping helicopters and planes -cisterns, succeeded in digging containment lines around about a third of the blaze 's still growing perimeter, officials said Wednesday.
The Bootleg fire is so large that it sometimes generated its own weather conditions - towering pyrocumulus clouds of condensed moisture sucked through the fire's smoke column from the burnt vegetation and the surrounding air. These clouds can create thunderstorms and strong winds capable of igniting new fires and spreading flames. Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Edited by Leslie Adler
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