Thursday, July 15, 2021

Western US wildfires force hundreds from their homes | Al Jazeera

The so-called “Bootleg” fire

A growing wildfire in a bone-dry forest in the Western United States has forced hundreds of people from their homes as it charred more than 854sq km (330sq miles) and showed no signs of slowing on Wednesday amid a blistering heatwave and drought.

The so-called “Bootleg” fire, which has spread through the Fremont-Winema National Forest about 400km (250 miles) south of Portland, Oregon, destroyed 21 homes and threatened 1,926 more, according to an Oregon and Washington state interagency coordination centre in Portland.

After burning for eight days, the fire left a thick haze over nearby Klamath Falls, a scenic city about 40km (25 miles) north of the California border, where the local fairgrounds were turned into a Red Cross evacuation centre.

Tim McCarley, one of the evacuees, told the Reuters news agency earlier this week that sheriff’s deputies and state troopers showed up at his home just as “sparks and embers were coming down” and told his family “if you don’t leave, you’re dead.”

“This is my first wildfire and I’m going to tell you, it is scary,” another evacuated resident, Sarah Kose, said.

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