Wildfires rage in Oregon, causing miles-high “fire clouds” in a region “bigger than New York City.”
In the midst of a tremendous heatwave, a WILDFIRE in Oregon that covers an area larger than New York City is destroying the American Northwest.
Pyrocumulus clouds (‘fire clouds’) are deadly plumes of smoke and ash that can reach up to six miles into the sky, caused by fire and smoke from the huge conflagration in southeastern Oregon. Authorities noted on Friday that the Pyrocumulus clouds are “clearly visible from 100 to 120 air miles away.”
The Bootleg Fire expanded to a size of roughly 377 square miles (976 square kilometers), which is greater than New York City.
“The Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long – that’s a massive length of line to build and hold,” said Commander Rob Allen, a frontline firefighter, to the AFP news agency.
“We are continuing to deploy all available resources, from dozers to air tankers, to engage where it is safe to do so, particularly as the hot, dry, and windy conditions are expected to deteriorate over the weekend.”
According to fire officials, the big blaze has been blazing for more than a week and is barely 7% contained.
Nearly 2,000 firemen are presently battling the blaze, which has burned 21 homes and forced hundreds of people to flee across the state.
The wildfire is believed to be the state’s fifth largest in more than a century, according to forest officials.
The fire breaks out as the state suffers from a severe heat wave, which threatens to produce fresh ignition hotspots in the already tinder-dry environment.
The Pyrocumulus clouds form about 3-5 p.m. each day, according to fire officials, as the light pierces the smoke, heats the ground, and causes an updraft of hot air.
“If these clouds ‘collapse,’ it might result in dangerous outflow winds and ember falls for firefighters working in the area,” officials stated.
Meteorologists have cautioned that pyrocumulus clouds could be a precursor to the more dangerous pyrocumulonimbus cloud, called the “fire breathing dragon of clouds” by NASA and capable of generating its own weather.
Joe Hessel, incident commander for the Oregon Department of Fire, warned in a statement on Thursday that the fire is likely to spread even further.
“This fire will continue to expand – the extremely dry vegetation and weather conditions are not in our favor,” he stated.
“We will continue to establish lines, protect structures, and transfer resources as quickly as possible around the perimeter of the fire.”