The largest wildfire in the US has burned almost 400,000 acres

Tamarack Fire Cows
Watch cattle flee as California wildfire rages
00:59 - Source: CNN
CNN  — 

The largest wildfire in the United States approached 400,000 acres burned with containment at just 38%, officials said Thursday.

The Bootleg Fire has charred 399,359 acres in southern Oregon, including some land that is set aside for carbon offsets.

“The fire will continue to be extremely active with gusty winds and extremely dry fuels,” says an update posted to InciWeb, the national clearinghouse for wildfire information.

Officials in recent days have touted progress against the massive fire, which was started July 6 by lightning.

“Fire crews and support personnel have made significant progress in containing this fire in the last few days,” Joe Prummer of the Northwest Interagency Incident Management Team said. “However, we still have a long road ahead of us to ensure the safety of the surrounding communities.”

How to support western wildfire victims

The blaze grew about 4,000 acres Thursday and officials said there was growth and activity in two areas but the advance was controlled with bulldozers.

It is now the third-largest fire in Oregon since 1900, Marcus Kauffman, spokesperson for Oregon Department of Forestry, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow on Thursday.

More than 2,100 people under some form of evacuation due to the fire, according to Kauffman.

Record-breaking, triple-digit temperatures and severe drought have devastated parts of Oregon. Those conditions have been fueling the fire and forcing evacuations.

Doug Grafe, chief of fire protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, this week predicted a “long, difficult fire season.”

He said Tuesday – when the fire had burned 388,000 acres – it’s possible that another 50,000 to 100,000 acres could burn before the Bootleg Fire is contained.

“The future for us for the remainder of the season continues to look above normal dry and above normal temperatures,” Grafe said. “So this is not going to return to normal anytime soon.”

A ban on campfires will be banned in state parks and state-managed forests east of Interstate 5 started Thursday, the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department said. That covers all regions of the state except the Pacific coast and a portion of the Willamette Valley.

The ban includes not only charcoal and propane fires, but also tiki torches and even candles.