CHILOQUIN, Ore. (CBS SF/AP) — The wall of flames from the Bootleg Fire advanced toward the popular Summer Lake recreation area early Monday, growing to more than 153,500 acres and disrupting transmission on Path 66 — an electrical line corridor linking the California grid with power generators in the Northwest.
The threat to the power corridor forced California power grid officials to issue a flex alert for possible outages on Monday.READ MORE: UPDATE: Firefighters Rescue Person Stranded On Ledge At Fort Funston In San Francisco
“The fast-moving Bootleg Fire tripped off transmission lines on Friday and again Saturday, limiting electricity flow from the Pacific Northwest to California,” the agency said in a news release. “Power supplies to the California ISO service territory, which covers about 80 percent of the state, have been reduced by as much as 3,500 megawatts because of the fire.”
Elevated concerns forced Gov. Gavin Newsom to dispatch firefighting teams from Northern California to Oregon over the weekend.
Two strike teams consisting of Type 3 and Type 6 engines from Fremont, Oakland, Hayward, Alameda County, South San Francisco, San Bruno, the Central Fire District, San Mateo and Kentfield were sent north to battle the blaze.
As of Monday morning, there were 83 fire engines and more than 900 firefighters on fire line with more on the way, said Rich Saalsaa, an Oregon State Fire Marshal public information officer.
On Sunday, fire incident commander Al Lawson said those firefighters and their colleagues on the fire lines were facing a difficult challenge.
“The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before,” Lawson said.
A map of the fire zone revealed that several miles of Path 66 powerlines was in the midst of the expanding burn zone.READ MORE: San Francisco Bars To Require COVID Vaccine or Negative Test From Customers
“The fire is still right there around those power lines,” Gert Zoutendijk, a public information officer for the Oregon State Fire Marshal, said.
The region like much of California has been suffering through drought conditions.
“The fire will continue to be extremely active in unchecked portions of the perimeter, with unstable air conditions and extremely dry fuels,” the forest service said in a Sunday fire update. “Spread direction will be dictated primarily by topography and drought-stressed fuels. Continued persistent drought and dry conditions will encourage spotting.”
Zoutendijk said the fire has experienced stunning growth each day since it began last Tuesday.
“Really the fire is just exploding and continuing to grow dramatically,” Zoutendijk said on Saturday. “We are seeing doubling in size of the fire every 24 hours. We started with a smaller 3,000 acre fire, went to 16,000, then it went up to 35,000, and then 76,000 acres. So we know even during the day it’d getting bigger.”
Fortunately, the fire did not double in size overnight, but did grow by more than 10,000 acres. And now the flames were advancing toward Summer Lake, a popular recreation area
Zoutendijk said there was an abundance of fuel to help advance the blaze.MORE NEWS: Vallejo Police Break Up Sideshow Activity; 6 Arrested Following Chase, Hit-and-Run
“The fuels on the ground that would start a fire are in the sun at a 100 percent receptive rate,” he said. “So what that means if an amber falls on any of the fuels that are the ground — bushes, brush, pine needles, leaves — there is a 100 percent likelihood that a fire will start. Every amber that falls will start a new fire.”