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California, Oregon wildfires grow; firefighters optimistic about containment

The Dixie Fire grew to more than 208,000 acres as of Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy of Cal Fire CZU
The Dixie Fire grew to more than 208,000 acres as of Tuesday morning. Photo courtesy of Cal Fire CZU

July 27 (UPI) -- The Dixie Fire in Northern California grew to more than 208,000 acres Tuesday, but fire officials said they were optimistic they could get the wildfire under control in the coming days.

The blaze, which affections portions of Butte, Lassen, Plumas and Tehama counties, was 23% contained as of Tuesday morning. Fire officials expect to have full containment by July 31.

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More than 15,000 people have been evacuated in the affected counties.

Analyst Dennis Burns of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said the Bucks Lake region, in particular, was "looking really good."

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"We're trying to get a lot of depth and mopping up and taking care of heat sources," he said during a briefing. "Hopefully within the next day or so we'll see more" containment.

The Mercury News reported that overcast skies provided relief for firefighters Tuesday, but temperatures were expected to rise later in the day, with a forecast of 10 mph to 15 mph winds and gusts up to 25 mph expected to complicate efforts.

Cal Fire said 31 structures have been destroyed and seven damaged. More than 10,000 structures were in harm's way.

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In southern Oregon, the Bootleg Fire grew to more than 410,000 acres with 53% containment as of Tuesday morning. According to an update, rugged terrain along the northwest side of the wildfire complicated fire suppression.

Scattered showers and thunderstorms Tuesday and Wednesday were expected to bring up to a few tenths of an inch of rain and rising humidity.

"Favorable weather today will create a good window for direct attack," the update said. "But due to the extremely dry conditions and fuels, as the week progresses and temperatures rise, aggressive fire behavior is likely to quickly rebound."

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Officials said the blaze has destroyed 161 residences and 247 outbuildings in Lake and Klamath counties. Evacuations were in place in both counties.

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