PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Oregon Department of Forestry announced the end of the 2023 fire season on Wednesday, as the state sees cooling temperatures and soaking rain.
Year-to-date, officials said there have been 975 fires on ODF-protected land, which burned 17,968 acres. Statewide, officials reported 1,909 fires which burned 190,507 acres.
“This year, I would say was the year of partnership,” Mike Shaw, Protection Division Chief, said. “We had several opportunities this year to help to our local, state, and federal partners keep Oregon safe from wildfire, and vice versa.”
Three Type 1 Incident Management Teams were deployed this season with one tending the Golden Fire in the Klamath-Lake District, and two to the Tyee Ridge Complex, ODF said. In August another team was deployed to the Wiley Creek Fire in the Willamette National Forest.
Starting in May, ODF also deployed firefighters to Alberta, Canada to aid wildland fire suppression efforts.
According to ODF, fire crews responded to nearly the same number of fires in 2023 as the 10-year average. However, crews maintained 16% of the 10-year average of acres burned, which was 119,526 acres.
Officials credit the decrease in average acres burned to the agency’s aggressive approach to the initial attack and investments in staffing and aircraft resources from the 2021 legislature.
Overall, ODF added, the department extinguished 94% of fires at 10 acres or fewer in 2023.
Marking the end of fire season, ODF has removed its fire restrictions on ODF-protected lands. However, the agency points out other Oregon departments may still require a permit for debris and slash burning.