PORTLAND, Ore. — More people living along the eastern edge of an Oregon wildfire were told to evacuate late Thursday as the inferno began spreading rapidly and erratically in hot afternoon winds and threatened to merge with a nearby, smaller fire that had also exploded in size.
The Bootleg Fire, the largest wildfire currently burning in the US, has now torched an area larger than New York City and has stymied firefighters with erratic winds and extremely dangerous fire behavior. The fire, pushed by winds from the south, has the potential to move 4 miles (6 kilometers) or more in an afternoon and there is concern it could merge with the smaller, yet still explosive Log Fire, said Rob Allen, incident commander for the blaze.
The Log Fire started on Monday as three smaller fires but exploded to nearly 5,000 acres (2,000 hectares) in 24 hours. It is also being fanned by winds from the south, Allen said.