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Evacuation orders lifted for Bootleg Fire now 96% contained

Fire officials lifted the evacuation orders remaining for Klamath and Lake counties on Monday afternoon.

KLAMATH COUNTY, Ore. — All remaining evacuation orders in Klamath and Lake counties due to the Bootleg Fire lifted Monday afternoon, as the fire is now 96% contained. 

According to the newest figures, the fire has burned a total of 413,765 acres in Southern Oregon.

Crews say acreage held steady for the past nine to 10 days, despite an uphill battle during the early days of the fire. 

Crews had recently focused most on reinforcing lines along the remaining 13% of its perimeter.

"There has been a lot of really great work that has happened," said Chris Barth, a spokesperson for the Bootleg Fire response. "The goal is to just return to normal as quickly as possible."

Since July 6 when the fire started, it has destroyed at least 160 homes. Both Klamath and Lake counties are working on a damage assessment to see if that number is higher. 

However, because the fire has not grown significantly in more than a week, it is not suspected that more homes have burned in that period. 

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Barth noted crews have continued to face challenges with the weather. 

In the last few days, lightning strikes have sparked several other small fires just outside of the Bootleg Fire perimeter.

"At this time, we're mopping really aggressively to try to keep those fires in place," operations chief Kyle Cannon said in an online video update Saturday.

Barth said firefighters have created lines around those fires and are working to prevent further spread.

Investigators determined the Bootleg Fire was also caused by lighting. In the first few weeks, it grew exponentially under exceptional drought conditions.

"In this part of Oregon, there has been a drought for the last two years," fire behavior analyst Chris Moore said. "And there has also been a low snow year between those two years...fuels are very dry."

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Fire officials predict the Bootleg Fire will burn through October, but expressed confidence that containment efforts are working. 

In his video update Saturday morning, Cannon said updates may become less frequent as containment grows. However, firefighters continue to warn of high fire danger, asking that people take safety measures seriously.