KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — Flames and smoke scattered across dry, wooded brush in a remote part of Southern Oregon.
On Friday morning, KGW got a guided tour behind the front lines of the Bootleg Fire. It's become the third-largest in Oregon history. As of Friday, the fire had torched 400,389 acres or 625 square miles, double the size of New York City. The fire is 40% contained so far.
Firefighters took KGW's crew through the fire's northeastern flank, the part of the fire that continues to grow. Firefighters haven't been able to contain those lines. One spot fire the crew spotted burning along the uncontained lines even jumped the highway, Winter Rim Road, near Summer Lake, Ore.
Jacob Welsh, a spokesperson for the fire, said the spot fire first kicked up Thursday night. Firefighters built containment lines northeast of it, but have bigger priorities and a lot of ground to cover as the Bootleg Fire continues to grow.
"The perimeter of this fire would be like driving from Portland to Grants Pass," Welsh said. "So we just, we didn't let it burn, but we addressed the higher priority which is keeping it from spreading to the east."
Firefighters are using heavy machinery to clear trees and create a gap where flames can run out of fuel, Welsh said.
During the tour, helicopters were seen carrying water buckets overhead to try and douse what they can.
"Fire weakened trees, they tend to fall over," Welsh said. "That's one of the things that makes me really nervous about being on the fire line."