PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — There are already about 5000 firefighters and support personnel battling the wildfires throughout Oregon and Washington burning more than 400,000 acres at this time.
Last year at this time, a historic year for wildfires in Oregon, only 27,000 acres were burning. That means the fires in 2021 are already 15 times bigger than last year.
The Northwest Interagency Center said they still have initial attack resources on hand, prepositioned around Oregon and Washington to quickly attack any new fires that pop up.
Firefighters in the Northwest have help from all over, including a wide range of federal, state and local agencies.
“We work together on these fires and the unified approach. We pick mission over agency, meaning we’re in it together. We have to lean on each other to work these fires and through this leadership for our firefighters and almost every large fire we have out there has an incident management team,” said the agency’s Carroll Connolly. “And there’s a factor of different agencies working together for the betterment of that mission. We can’t be successful alone. We need each other to be successful on the landscape.”
What they want from motorists is to avoid the areas where they’re working, and if you have to drive through, go slowly and watch out for firefighters.
Cause of the wildfires
The cause of all the major fires in Oregon is still under investigation. Lightning fires are not preventable, but NWIC officials said every human-caused fire will take critical resources from these large fires.
“Know what fire restrictions are in the area,” Connolly said. “It’s a long summer. We’re already ahead of where we were last year. And these men and women that are out there on the line, they need a break too, so let’s help them.”