Western Wildfires

In this photo provided by the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshall, flames and smoke rise from the Bootleg fire in southern Oregon on Wednesday. The largest fire in the U.S. on Wednesday was burning in southern Oregon, to the northeast of the wildfire that ravaged a tribal community less than a year ago.

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Firefighters scrambled Friday to control a raging inferno in southeastern Oregon that’s spreading miles a day in windy conditions, one of numerous wildfires across the U.S. West that are straining resources, the AP reports. 

Crews had to flee the fire lines late Thursday after a dangerous “fire cloud” started to collapse, threatening them with strong downdrafts and flying embers. An initial review Friday showed the Bootleg Fire destroyed 67 homes and 117 outbuildings overnight in one county. Authorities were still counting the losses in a second county where the flames are surging up to 4 miles a day.

The mostly uncontained fire, which is pouring smoke into the Treasure Valley, has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and is threatening 5,000 buildings that include homes and smaller structures in a rural area just north of the California border, fire spokeswoman Holly Krake said. You can read our full story here at idahopress.com or pick up Saturday's print edition of the Idaho Press.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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