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Rain helps, but Bootleg grows to 413,400 acres

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Western Wildfires

Firefighter Troy Madalena from Santa Fe, New Mexico walks toward the near the Northwest edge of the Bootleg Fire on Friday, July 23, 2021, near Paisley, Ore.

As of Wednesday morning the Bootleg Fire remained the nation's largest, checking in at 413,400 acres.

According to fire managers, the west side of the fire received steady, light rain on Tuesday that allowed more direct attack on the fire’s edge. The rain significantly moderated fire behavior. Fine fuels are most affected by the moisture, although larger diameter fuels are still critically dry.

The rain tapered off overnight, although isolated thunderstorms are still possible, especially in the northwest region, over the next few days. Warmer temperatures will return and humidity will decrease starting today and over the next few days, so crews are watching for increased fire activity.

On the east side of the fire, crews continued to mop up after the spot fire from Tuesday. With the added moisture they have no concerns about that area today. The Oregon National Guard crews are working on the east flank of the fire area to secure the perimeter and put out any hot spots. Crews are completing lines on the fire perimeter near the Old Trunk road around the burned area of the 2018 Watson Creek Fire.

Along the Sycan River there is still active fire in the treed riparian area, but the wetter areas of the Sycan Marsh will likely remain unburned. The southern and western portions of the fire have shown little fire activity and remain in monitor and patrol status.

Evacuations:   Evacuations are dynamic. Klamath County has dropped all evacuation notices; however, the Fremont-Winema National Forest remains closed. Lake County released an announcement of lowered evacuation levels. The most effective way to view the new designation boundaries is on the interactive map availab

Closures:  The Fremont-Winema National Forest is closed to the public in the fire area.

Smoke:  Tuesday's rainfall helped mitigate some of the smoke. Drier conditions are forecast to return today. Overall, air quality will remain generally good to moderate. Klamath Falls and Paisley are the exceptions; Klamath Falls could see periods of poor air quality, and Paisley could see periods of unhealthy air.