- Title: Small Oregon community comes together to help evacuees of Bootleg Fire
- Date: 17th July 2021
- Summary: KLAMATH COUNTY, OREGON, UNITED STATES (JULY 16, 2021) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF VOLUNTEERS TAKING SUPPLIES FOR EVACUEES FROM THE BACK OF A TRUCK IN PARKING LOT WITH THE SMOKE OF THE BOOTLEG FIRE IN THE DISTANCE (2 SHOTS) THE PARKING LOT WITH SMOKE CLOUD OF THE BOOTLEG FIRE IN THE DISTANCE SMOKE PLUMES IN THE SKY (SOUNDBITE) (English) VALERIE O'DAI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RELIEF ANGELS, SAYING: "This transition will turn into long-term recovery. We guarantee there are homes lost. I was up on the mountain yesterday and I was able to see some of the devastation and the heartache of people coming back to their homes where they've lived their whole lives. People that have built it with literally their own hands and it's gone. It's completely done." (WHITE FLASH) (SOUNDBITE) (English) VALERIE O'DAI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RELIEF ANGELS, SAYING: "These people lost their homes and they're not going to leave their property. They're not going to live in a hotel. These are people that live out in the forest because they love it. They are passionate about it. They are not going to leave that and if they have to rough it out for a while before they can rebuild, they will. That's how they started. Almost every last one of them was roughing it out there before they managed to finish building their property and they're starting over." (WHITE FLASH) (SOUNDBITE) (English) VALERIE O'DAI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RELIEF ANGELS, SAYING: "It's a complete emotional roller-coaster. I sympathize, I empathize, I see the heartache and it breaks my own heart. But then I see the hope. I see the community and it -- you're on a complete spectrum of -- I go from extreme devastation to extreme joy and right back in a matter of moments. Just different phone calls, different people, different conversations. Everybody's different but we all love our communities." VARIOUS OF PEOPLE IN A ROOM FULL OF DONATED CLOTHES (3 SHOTS) CLOSE UP OF DONATED CLOTHES INCLUDING CHILDREN'S SHOES LONG TABLE PILED HIGH WITH DONATED CLOTHES AND PEOPLE LOOKING THROUGH THEM (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEDA HUNTER, PRESIDENT OF THE BLY COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM, SAYING: "A lot of devastation is going on in our area. So many people have come in to get supplies here that have completely lost everything. We're trying to help. We have supplies that have been donated from all over Klamath County. We had a load this morning that came from Silverton, Oregon and we have a load in the morning coming from Portland. I am in awe of the donations we've received." (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEDA HUNTER, PRESIDENT OF THE BLY COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM, SAYING: "Well the needs are changing. You know there's a constant need, of course, for water, toilet paper, dog food, but now we're getting requests for fence posts, hay, chicken food, you know, hog food, and I think it's going to get more and more that way the longer this goes." VOLUNTEER LOOKING THROUGH STACKS OF DONATED WATER AND FOOD IN A SUPPLY ROOM 13 LEDA HUNTER, PRESIDENT OF THE BLY COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM (RED AND WHITE T-SHIRT) WITH ANOTHER VOLUNTEER IN A SUPPLY ROOM WOMAN FROM SHOT 12 GETTING BOTTLES OF WATER VALERIE O'DAI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF RELIEF ANGELS, SPEAKING TO SOMEONE IN THE SUPPLY ROOM LEDA HUNTER, PRESIDENT OF THE BLY COMMUNITY ACTION TEAM (RED AND WHITE T-SHIRT), STANDING IN SUPPLY ROOM WITH ANOTHER VOLUNTEER
- Embargoed: 31st July 2021 13:41
- Keywords: Bootleg Fire Klamath County community help evacuations rebuild southern Oregon wildfires
- Location: KLAMATH COUNTY, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- City: KLAMATH COUNTY, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Fires,United States
- Reuters ID: LVA001EM8AV5Z
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Volunteers in southern Oregon were working hard on Friday (July 16) to help some of roughly 2,000 residents displaced from their homes as a sprawling wildfire rages mostly unchecked about 250 miles (400 km) south of Portland.
"A lot of devastation is going on in our area. So many people have come in to get supplies here that have completely lost everything," Leda Hunter, who heads the Bly Community Action Team, told Reuters.
The small, tight-knit community of Bly sits in Klamath County, where the Bootleg Fire forced firefighters into retreat for a fourth straight day on Friday, as it expanded to become the state's fifth largest blaze in more than a century, forestry officials said.
The fire is the biggest among dozens of wildfires flaring across the tinder-dry landscape of the Western United States and has scorched more than 241,000 acres - an area exceeding the land mass of New York City.
Flames have destroyed at least 21 homes and 54 other structures, authorities said. On Friday, the Oregon Department of Forestry listed 5,000-plus homes as threatened, about 3,000 more than a day earlier.
"I was up on the mountain yesterday and I was able to see some of the devastation and the heartache," Valerie O'dai, who helps head the charity Relief Angels, told Reuters Friday.
Local charity groups like hers were unloading supplies such as bottled water, dry goods and children's shoes in Bly, saying many displaced residents will eventually choose to live in the untamed areas of their own properties while they wait to rebuild.
"These are people that live out in the forest because they love it. They are passionate about it. They are not going to leave that," O'dai said.
The Bootleg blaze has been burning through drought-parched timber and brush in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest since erupting on July 6 near Klamath Falls. The cause is under investigation.
Strike teams have carved containment lines around 7% of the fire's perimeter. But extreme fire growth fueled by low humidity, dry vegetation and gusty winds forced firefighters to withdraw from leading edges of the blaze for a fourth consecutive day on Friday, officials said.
More than 1,900 firefighters and a dozen helicopters as well as airplane tankers and bulldozers were assigned to the Bootleg fire as demand for personnel and equipment across the Pacific Northwest strained available resources.
The Bootleg fire is so large that it generates its own weather. Towering pyrocumulus clouds form from condensed moisture that is sucked up through the fire's smoke column from burned vegetation and the surrounding atmosphere, and can spawn lightning and high winds.
The sudden "collapse" of one such cloud on Friday spread embers to the east of the main fire zone, prompting additional evacuation notices for two communities, an official said.
(Production: Deborah Bloom, Mana Rabiee)
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