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Klamath County fire evokes state response

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown invoked the state Emergency Conflagration Act for the second time in two days on Wednesday, this time in response to the growing Bootleg Fire in Klamath County. She invoked the act Tuesday in response to the Jack Creek Fire, which prompted evacuations east of Roseburg.

The Bootleg Fire was reported around 1:45 p.m. on Tuesday and had grown to an estimated 11,000 acres in size by Wednesday night, burning in steep, rugged terrain in mixed conifer and lodgepole pine according to the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership. Fire behavior included running, torching and spotting. And with continued hot, dry weather and wind on Wednesday, firefighters expected the Bootleg would remain extremely active through the day.

“Southern Oregon is still recovering from last year’s devastating wildfires, and I will do everything in my power to ensure resources are available to contain the Bootleg Fire, as well as others that are burning across the state,” Brown said in a statement in which she announced her decision to invoke the conflagration act, which allows the state to send additional resources to the front lines. “This is a reminder that Oregonians must continue to be fire-wise, fire-safe, and to honor all burn bans.”

Smoke from the fire was highly visible on Wednesday from Oregon State Highway 140, Sprague River Highway, Chiloquin and the surrounding area.

The Bootleg Fire was limited to national forest system lands, but multiple structures were threatened to its east. Firefighters told people in the Sycan Estates area, north of Beatty in eastern Klamath County, to begin preparing for possible evacuations under Level 1, or “get ready,” evacuation orders. They also issued Level 2, or “get set,” evacuation orders for two properties northeast of the fire, and started protection measures for those sites.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting