Western Wildfires

In this photo provided by the Bootleg Fire Incident Command, a DC-10 tanker drops retardant over the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, Thursday, July 15, 2021. Meteorologists predicted critically dangerous fire weather through at least Monday with lightning possible in both California and southern Oregon.

We don’t think it is possible to thank firefighters enough. But let’s try.

The recent outbreak of blazes in Central Oregon is disconcerting. The Darlene Fire near La Pine destroyed at least two homes, an RV and 11 outbuildings. One such homeowner lost everything and all his hard work to “live off the grid,” as they say. His profile was in Sunday’s paper thanks to reporter Dylan Jeffries and photographer Dean Guernsey.

The Grandview Fire north east of Sisters is nearly 60% contained and, fortunately, it ran away from homes in the area, jumping Wychus Creek and heading northeast.

There’s the smaller, Swamp Wells Trail fire that erupted Sunday about 9 miles south of Bend at 64 acres.

And the granddaddy of them all, the Bootleg Fire 40 miles northeast of Klamath Falls, continues to devour 300,000 acres. It has destroyed 67 homes and 117 outbuildings, not to mention a host of wildlife and cattle that have been found dead from the flames.

Remarkably, there have been few injuries in these firefighting efforts, and for that, we are thankful. Over the weekend a veteran firefighter in Joliet, Montana, got caught in a blaze and had to be airlifted to the Salt Lake City burn center. We pray for his full recovery.

It’s a stark reminder that these hard-working people are putting their lives on the line in extremely dangerous and unpredictable situations. Let’s thank them, often. And pray for their safety.

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Editor: 541-633-2166, gobrien@bendbulletin.com

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