PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Following recent spikes in temperatures and some small brush fires in Yamhill and Washington counties, wildfire preparedness season is underway in Oregon.
Government agencies are currently working to staff fire crews, with officials planning to have all positions filled by June. Officials said a healthy staff level could be achieved by the time fires start to ramp up.
Officials told KOIN 6 it’s a little early to know exactly what this season will look like. The region saw a rainy winter so trees, shrubs and plants grew a lot. Now, however, it’s so hot that that fuel is drying fast.
Even though the wildfire outlook is uncertain, Jessica Prakke, a spokesperson for the Oregon Department of Forestry, explained how Oregonians can help limit the number of wildfires burning this summer.
“We can control our human-caused fires,” said Prakke. “Human cause fires cause over 70% of our fires in Oregon. And that, you know, the top cause of human-caused fires are escaped debris burns, and then it’s motor operated — things like chainsaws, cars, lawnmowers — and then it’s campfires.”
Other causes for wildfires — including lightning, high wind events and Mother Nature — are not in human control, so Prakke says the more people can actively practice wildfire prevention, the less resources are strained.