The 2021 wildfire season is intensifying in the western United States, with 80 large fires burning as of the beginning of the week, including an Oregon blaze covering more than 300,000 acres.
Statistics from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) indicated 80 large fires have burned more than 1.15 million acres across 13 states as of Sunday.
The bulk of the fires are in Montana, with 18, and Idaho, where there are 17. California has nine fires, while Oregon has eight. The NIFC defines a “large” fire as any fire comprising at least 100 acres of timber or at least 300 acres of grasslands or rangelands.
“The main thing is that vegetation is extremely dry because the West has been quite dry and also quite hot, and then there are the immediate conditions that contribute to fire spread, which include heat and wind patterns,” Erica Fleishman, director of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, told The Hill.
The largest fire is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which is burning in the Fremont-Winema National Forest. The fire has expanded to 293,307 acres as of the beginning of this week, an area nearly the size of Los Angeles, with only 25 percent of the fire contained.
On Sunday, Lake County, Oregon, announced evacuations due to both the Bootleg Fire and the smaller Log Fire in the same forest, which has spread to 10,484 acres.
The National Weather Service (NWS) has warned that “multiple weather hazards,” including conditions that give rise to fires, will persist through much of the week ahead.
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