The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center reported Wednesday that there were 14 uncontained large fires in the Pacific Northwest, with seven each in Oregon and Washington. Some 6,600 people are involved in firefighting efforts in those two states as the blazes scorch more than 625,000 acres.
On Wednesday, the Oregon Department of Forestry announced that starting Thursday, campfires will be temporarily banned in all state parks and forests east of Interstate 5 because of the fire danger. That includes designated fire rings and pits in campgrounds.
Here’s a look at the major fires and other related news items:
Bootleg Fire: In the last official report Wednesday morning, the blaze covered 394,407 acres and containment was at 32%. Weather conditions were favorable Wednesday for efforts to secure the existing fire line, officials said.
Elbow Creek Fire: This blaze 17 miles northwest of Wallowa was estimated at 18,599 acres and was 20 percent contained as of 11 a.m. Wednesday. According to a statement from the incident commander for the northeast Oregon fire, “The fire’s increasing complexity and growth has moved it up on the priority scale with other fires in the region. The higher ranking should provide more opportunity to acquire additional resources within the next few days.” More information can be found here.
The enormity of the U.S. West’s wildfire challenge has brought worldwide attention. Australia is sending an air tanker to assist with firefighting:
Following a request from the US our Large Air Tanker the ‘Marie Bashir’ will fly to the US in the morning to assist firefighters battling more than 80 fires that have so far burnt more than 400,000 hectares across 13 states. We wish the her and her crew a safe deployment. #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/L9vqcVN4qF— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) July 20, 2021
Meanwhile, smoke from Western fires is reportedly making its way all the way to New York. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tweeted out a video showing the path of the smoke plumes:
Smoke from major wildfires out West is spreading across the country this week, affecting air quality in many regions.— NOAA Research (@NOAAResearch) July 21, 2021
Here, NOAA's HRRR-Smoke model forecasts the movement of smoke from Wed - Thurs, 7/21-22.
Learn more about HRRR-Smoke: https://t.co/QjzSF2OGdB pic.twitter.com/i7NQkD2U1N