Raging wildfires take toll on Oregon firefighters

Firefighters and planes dropping flame retardant struggled to suppress a huge wildfire displacing roughly 2,000 residents in southern Oregon this week.

the largest among dozens of blazes raging across the drought-stricken U.S. West.

The Bootleg fire has charred more than 227,000 acres of desiccated timber and brush in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest since erupting on July 6 about 250 miles south of Portland.

Chiloquin resident and firefighter, Garrett Souza, says the fight is grueling.

"It's the accumulative fatigue that really I think wears a person out over time. And then there's very much emotional attachment. One of my brothers - he's my brother in fire but he's my beyond that, we grew up together, we went to school together. His ranch is right down the road, The ... Ranch, and he's lost all his cows. Lost so much stuff in that. That's hard. That's the hard part."

Shawn Hogan is also fighting the fires.

"It's our backyard so we have pride in our work and pride in protecting our own woods and country here. So we take a lot of pride. I get al to of gratitude in it. You know, you have the 80-year-old couple out there who have worked their whole lives for a home and you know, we go and save it. They say they don't have insurance. We get a lot of gratitude out of that and a lot of thank you and stuff. We don't make a lot of money but we work really hard and we have pride in what we do."

Seventy major active wildfires were listed on Thursday as having blackened nearly 1 million acres in 11 states, the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, reported.

California, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska are among the states battling flames that have erupted in an unusually early start to the western wildfire season.

Scientists have said their growing frequency and intensity is largely down to prolonged drought, a symptom of climate change.

As of Wednesday (July 14), the center in Boise put its "national wildland fire preparedness level" at 5, the highest of its five-tier scale,

meaning most U.S. firefighting resources are currently deployed somewhere across the country.

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