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Oregon wildfire changing the weather, over 500 square miles scorched, officials

Bootleg is the third largest wildfire in Oregon's history.

Updated: July 20, 2021 - 12:21pm

The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook

The vicious Oregon Bootleg Wildfire is beginning to change the weather as it spreads out of control, leading to an increase in evacuations and chaos along the way, officials say.  

The Bootleg Fire, which has been burning since July 6, is only about 30% contained and has consumed over 364,113 acres of land, Marcus Kauffman, an Oregon Department of Forestry, told CNN

There are now 80 wildfires burning in 13 states, as over 19,600 firefighters work to contain them, according to the National Interagency Fire Center

On Monday, firefighters had to take a step back from treating the fires for the ninth consecutive day as the danger of the flames posed a threat to their safety. 

The intensity of Bootleg has led to a creation of pyrocumulus clouds, which essentially create thunderstorms and the potential for strong winds and lightening. 

The fire is “so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather,” Kauffman also told CNN. "Normally, the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do."

With the previous drought having fueled the flames of Bootleg, over 2,000 homes have been evacuated and dozens burned to the ground. No one has reportedly died from this fire, as officials continue to try to get it under control.