Bolstering the case for meaningful action to address the climate emergency, the out-of-control Bootleg Fire that began on July 6 in southern Oregon has scorched more than 280,000 acres and is only 22% contained. It is the nation\u0026#039;s largest wildfire so far this year, and\u0026nbsp;one of 70 large blazes\u0026nbsp;currently torching the U.S. West, which is bracing for yet another heatwave.\r\n\r\nTo put Bootleg\u0026#039;s destructiveness into perspective, the fire—one of 10 burning in Oregon alone—has spread over 25,000 acres per day on average, or more than\u0026nbsp;1,000 acres every hour. According to CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller, \u0022That\u0026#039;s an area larger than the area of Central Park each hour, or a rate of a football field burned every five seconds\u0022 for 11 days.\r\n\r\nAs\u0026nbsp;the Washington Post reported Friday:\r\n\r\n\r\nThe Bootleg Fire\u0026#039;s expansion has destroyed 117 outbuildings and 67 residences in Klamath County, said Holly Krake, a spokeswoman for the Bootleg Fire Incident Management Team. The fire is still raging in Lake County, home to a population of more than 7,000 residents, and the damage is being assessed, she said.\r\n\r\nAs of Friday, Krake said, some 2,000 residents across both counties had been evacuated, with over 5,000 residences threatened by the growing flames.\r\n\r\nWith an unprecedented wildfire season underway, the American Red Cross has opened four shelters throughout the state, said Chad Carter, the organization\u0026#039;s Oregon regional communications director. He said they are prepared to open more if needed.\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022We are all planning for this to be a prolonged event this summer,\u0022 Carter told the Post. \u0022We\u0026#039;ve got several shelters open right now, and we\u0026#039;ll continue to adjust based on the need throughout the summer.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn addition to causing displacement, state officials said\u0026nbsp;the fire has endangered parts of the power grid, specifically\u0026nbsp;transmission lines that carry electricity to California, CNN reported.\r\n\r\nAlison Green,\u0026nbsp;public affairs director for the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshals, told the Post that \u0022we are seeing conditions that we usually see in mid-August. It\u0026#039;s been extreme fire behavior over the last week that has created conditions that are certainly challenging.\u0022\r\n\r\nIn an online update, Rob Allen,\u0026nbsp;incident commander for the Pacific Northwest Area Incident Management Team 2, noted that \u0022the Bootleg Fire perimeter is more than 200 miles long. That\u0026#039;s an enormous amount of line to build and hold.\u0022\r\n\r\nGiven its massive size and quick-moving pace, Ryan Berlin, a\u0026nbsp;Bootleg Fire Zone 1 information officer, told the Post that there\u0026#039;s\u0026nbsp;\u0022a pretty good possibility\u0022 the Bootleg Fire could merge with the smaller Log Fire, which on Thursday \u0022blew up also.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022My colleagues in Congress have to understand. We don\u0026#039;t have 30 years. It\u0026#039;s now or never.\u0022\r\n—Rep. Jamaal Bowman\u0026nbsp;\r\n\r\nWhile the spark that caused the Bootleg Fire remains under investigation, very\u0026nbsp;dry fuel is abundant in Oregon and throughout the western U.S., where a\u0026nbsp;dozen states are battling\u0026nbsp;70 active wildfire complexes.\r\n\r\nFor weeks, the region has suffered from record-high temperatures and a worsening drought. The severely hot and dry weather, which scientists say is inseparable from climatic disruptions\u0026nbsp;driven by the emission of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, has created the conditions for an especially catastrophic wildfire season that experts warn is far from over.\r\n\r\nThe\u0026nbsp;deadly heatwave that recently pummeled the Pacific Northwest and southwestern Canada—described by a pair of climate scientists as \u0022the most extreme in world weather records\u0022—killed nearly 800 people\u0026nbsp;in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, along with over one billion intertidal animals.\r\n\r\nAccording to a rapid-response analysis conducted by a team of researchers, the dangerously high temperatures that helped make\u0026nbsp;last month the hottest June in North America in recorded history \u0022would have been virtually impossible\u0022 in the absence of the past two centuries of extracting and burning coal, oil, and gas—the primary source of growing carbon pollution.\r\n\r\nPark Williams, a climate scientist at UCLA, on Friday said the same thing about the wave of wildfires now ravaging communities and ecosystems throughout the western U.S.\r\n\r\n\u0022We wouldn\u0026#039;t be seeing this giant ramp up in fire activity as fast as it is happening without climate change,\u0022 Williams told the\u0026nbsp;New York Times. \u0022There\u0026#039;s just no way.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022Drought and high heat,\u0022\u0026nbsp;the Times noted Friday,\u0026nbsp;\u0022can kill trees and dry out dead grass, pine needles, and any other material on the bottom of the forest floor that act as kindling when a fire sweeps through a forest.\u0022\r\n\r\nAccording to Joe Hessel, an incident commander for the Oregon Department of Forestry, \u0022This fire is going to continue to grow—the extremely dry vegetation and weather are not in our favor.\u0022\r\n\r\nHessel\u0026#039;s ominous warning came as the U.S. West\u0026#039;s fourth heatwave in five weeks got under way in the northern Rockies and High Plains. Axios reported that from Saturday through at least Wednesday, temperatures in the area are expected to hit 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit above average.\r\n\r\nExperts fear that the impending high-pressure system, known as a \u0022heat dome,\u0022 could exacerbate existing fires or contribute to the formation of new ones.\r\n\r\nAccording to the Times, parts of Idaho (17 active large fires), Montana (13), Wyoming (2), and Utah (1) could be hit with triple-digit highs over the weekend and into early next week, with temperatures peaking on Monday.\r\n\r\nIronically, one factor that could suppress temperatures slightly is a hazy sky due to smoke from nearby wildfires.\u0026nbsp;CNN reported\u0026nbsp;earlier this week that as a result of\u0026nbsp;the ongoing blazes in the western U.S.,\u0026nbsp;most of the country, including states as far away as New York, \u0022could see at least light surface-level wildfire smoke.\u0022 The news outlet noted that Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and Minnesota issued air quality alerts.\r\n\r\nAccording to the Post: \u0022A major concern on Sunday and Monday\u0026nbsp;is the prospect of dry thunderstorms, from the Sierra Nevada mountain range northward through much of northern Nevada, eastern Idaho, and central Montana. These storms could unleash cloud-to-ground lightning that ignites new blazes.\u0022\r\n\r\nAlthough he was pointing to this week\u0026#039;s\u0026nbsp;devastating flooding\u0026nbsp;in Germany and Belgium, Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) could just as easily have been talking about the\u0026nbsp;heatwaves, drought conditions, and fires clobbering the U.S. West when he said Saturday that\u0026nbsp;\u0022we are living through a climate catastrophe.\u0022\r\n\r\nLast week, climate justice advocates from the Sunrise Movement alluded to several extreme weather events and fossil fuel disasters that have occurred recently in the U.S.\u0026nbsp;and came to the conclusion that\u0026nbsp;\u0022the time for incrementalism is over.\u0022\r\n\r\nBowman amplified that message on Saturday, saying: \u0022My colleagues in Congress have to understand. We don\u0026#039;t have 30 years. It\u0026#039;s now or never.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022We have to redesign our economy to respond to the current crisis and to ensure it doesn\u0026#039;t get much, much worse,\u0022 he added.