PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon’s now heading into the prime wildfire months with dry grass and brush ready to feed a fire coming from a match, ash from a smoldering campfire, fireworks and lightning.
It was two years ago in September when wind-whipped Oregon fires destroyed almost half a million acres, taking the lives of nine people and forcing more than 40,000 to evacuate their homes. There were 4,000 Oregon homes destroyed by wildfire.
Despite the state’s wet spring and cold weather, it is time to have an escape plan to prepare again to be ready to evacuate quickly. As of Monday, July 11, all Oregon Department of Forestry districts are in fire season, which means there could be public use restrictions where residents live or where people visit to reduce the risk of human-caused wildfires.
Fortunately, there is more local firefighting help this year. The state fire marshal transferred $6 million in grant money to dozens of local fire districts to beef up hiring for wildfire season and to protect homes and other buildings in communities.
But a lot of unknowns remain that can determine how severe the state’s summer fire danger can become, like the high winds that helped push the 2020 wildfires into the record book as the worse we’ve seen in decades.