The Bootleg fire is the largest in the country and is just one of dozens of large wildfires burning out West.

As of Wednesday evening, the Bootleg fire had merged with the nearby Log fire and was scorching almost 400,000 acres in southern Oregon. It’s been burning for 16 days in the Fremont-Winema National Forest, approximately 11 miles northeast of Sprague River. Fire officials said Wednesday that the fire likely started as a result of a lightning strike.

Smoke from the fire is highly visible from Oregon State Highway 140, Sprague River Highway and the town of Chiloquin. Drivers should expect increased traffic in the area from fire equipment, and officials are asking everyone to drive extra carefully in the area. On some local roads, traffic is allowed for evacuation and emergency services only due to low visibility from the smoke.

A relatively stable air mass with some cloud cover and increased humidity recovery over the past few days has slightly tamped down fire behavior. However, drier air and the potential for increasing winds Thursday could give firefighting crews a little more difficulty. The fire is 38% contained.

The Bootleg fire is one of 78 large fires in 13 states nationwide. These large fires had burned 1.35 million acres as of Wednesday, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Truckers will hit thick smoke and degraded air quality near many of these fires, so the National Weather Service still has air-quality alerts in place for portions of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming and Colorado.

Smoke filled air in Montgomery County,PA from the Western Wildfires #pawx #WildfireSmoke @phillywx @SteveSosnaNBC @JimCantore @StephanieAbrams @StormHour @spann

— Weather Brewed (@WeatherBrewed) July 20, 2021

Upper-level winds have transported smoke from the Western wildfires, as well as fires in Canada, all the way to the Eastern U.S. Because of this, the National Weather Service has issued air-quality alerts for the entire state of Indiana, in addition to Louisville, Kentucky; western Ohio; Nashville, Tennessee; the Delmarva Peninsula; and all of North Carolina.

Click here for more FreightWaves articles by Nick Austin.

You might also like:

Most dangerous highway stretches for US truckers

‘Painful mess’: I-40 bridge closure costing trucking industry $1M daily

4 ways heat waves can scorch truckers