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Better weather helps crews make progress against Bootleg, Dixie wildfires

By
Don Jacobson

July 26 (UPI) -- Better weather conditions have enabled crews to at least temporarily slow down the growth of two wildfires Oregon and California, officials said in updates issued Monday.

In Oregon, light, favorable winds from the north and cooler temperatures allowed firefighters to work through the night to better contain the Bootleg Fire near the California border.

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The fire on Sunday grew to nearly 410,000 acres, about 1,000 more acres than the previous day, while containment increased from 46% to 53%, the U.S. Forest Service said in a Monday update.

Thanks to the improved weather conditions, firefighters were able to successfully patrol and hold the containment line around the fire's southern area while working to build new containment lines along its northwest perimeter.

A burnout operation was conducted overnight Monday to remove fuels ahead of the fire to stop its spread into timber stands, officials said.

"The challenge today is to secure the northernmost section of the fire north of Round Butte to the west side of 27 Road," area operations Chief Kyle Cannon said.

Firefighters said they have also made "excellent progress" along the Bootleg's southern border with 98 miles of completed fire line.

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Meanwhile, thick smoke from the Dixie Fire in California northwest of Lake Tahoe helped to shade the blaze and moderate its explosive spread, fire officials there said in an update.

That helped to slow down California's largest wildfire, which still grew by 7,000 acres to 197,000 acres as it merged with the nearby Fly Fire on Sunday. Containment increased slightly from 21% to 22%.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the lower temperatures resulted in more moderate fire behavior.

"The significant change in fire intensity allowed firefighters to construct dozer and hand lines in some key areas including areas of Taylorsville, Crescent Mills, Quincy, Bucks Lake and Greenville," CalFire reported.

Crews have been deployed to Taylorsville, Calif., on the eastern edge to "prepare for structure protection in the event the fire reaches the area as it continues moving northeast."

There are more than 5,400 fire personnel fighting the Dixie Fire.

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