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Erratic Oregon wildfire destroys dozens of homes, expands

Western Wildfires
Posted at 3:14 PM, Jul 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-16 17:14:14-04

Firefighters are scrambling to control an inferno in southeastern Oregon that's spreading miles a day in windy conditions as wildfires across the U.S. West strain resources.

Authorities say the fire destroyed 67 homes and 117 outbuildings overnight into Friday and is threatening 5,000 additional homes and smaller structures. Crews battling extreme fire behavior and strong winds say the largest fire burning in the U.S. will likely merge with another explosive blaze by nightfall.

Crews had to flee late Thursday after a dangerous “fire cloud” started to collapse, threatening them with strong downdrafts and flying embers. The Bootleg Fire has stymied firefighters for nearly a week in a drought-stricken area just north of the California border.