The Bootleg Fire in Southern Oregon has already burned 530 square miles of forest and grasslands over the last two weeks, spurred by heat waves linked to climate change — a bad omen, in other words, of what’s still in store for us.
“The fire is so large and generating so much energy and extreme heat that it’s changing the weather,” Marcus Kauffman, a spokesman for the state forestry department, told the Times. “Normally the weather predicts what the fire will do. In this case, the fire is predicting what the weather will do.”
Fires capable of determining their own weather patterns are extremely hard to fight for teams on the ground. The erratic conditions are even forcing firefighting personnel to retreat to safer locations.