Oregon's Bootleg fire caused by lightning: officials
A wildfire that had burned for weeks in Oregon was ignited by lightning and smoldered for days before it was discovered.
Forest officials announced this on Wednesday.
The so-called bootleg fire is the largest of the dozen forest fires currently burning in the United States.
Its origins came to light as the ground crew of more than 2,000 people made progress in containing the fire.
Calmer winds, cooler temperatures and a slightly higher humidity in the last two days helped.
Officials say the fire is now growing more slowly as it invades an area with less vegetation that needs to be burned.
But the fire is still well on its way to becoming the third largest fire in the state since 1900.
So far it has blown an area far more than half the size of Rhode Island -
almost 400,000 acres of dry shrubbery and wood.
It is so big that it even creates its own weather and is able to create thunderstorms which in turn can ignite new fires.
So far, no deaths or serious injuries have been reported.
But dozens of houses and more than 100 outbuildings were destroyed.
The bootleg fire is adding to an unusually heavy start to the western fire season, as about 80 major active forest fires were reported in 13 western states this week.
More than 1.3 million hectares of land have already been burned.
Experts have attributed the extreme weather to climate change.
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