Mon, 02 Aug 2021

SAN FRANCISCO, July 21 (Xinhua) -- Bootleg Fire, the largest one in the U.S. state of Oregon, has scorched over 390,000 acres in Lake and Klamath counties with 32 percent containment as of Wednesday, fire officials said.

The lightning-caused fire is also the nation's largest blaze so far this year, covering by Wednesday 394,407 acres (about 1,596 square km) after merging with the nearby Log Fire.

"It's shaping up to be another difficult wildfire season. And unfortunately, we're responding to new fires as we continue to recover from last year's devastating fire season," said Oregon Governor Kate Brown on a Tuesday briefing.

Brown, along with the state fire marshal and director of emergency management, briefed the public on Oregon's response to a "historic" start to wildfire season, citing drought emergencies in 19 counties so far with more expected.

"It's mid-July and already nearly 450,000 acres (about 1,821 square km) have burned across the state," Brown said.

"The drought conditions across Oregon are really driving the fire potential," said Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection with the Oregon Department of Forestry. "It really is the foundation of why we're at where we're at today."

According to Brown, the climate change "is playing out before our very eyes" and exacerbating the drought.

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