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Fire Alert

NW federal land managers say they’re worried, but well-prepared for wildfire season

PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) --  As recovery work continues from last year’s record fire season, federal land managers and fire, fuels and aviation officials in the Pacific Northwest say they are concerned, but well-prepared for the 2021 season.

Here's a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. Forest Service, Region 6:

The 2021 fire season is busy, already. Crews had responded to nearly 600 fires by the end of May, compared to 396 at that time last year, and 271 by the same point in 2017.

Prescribed fire is increasingly important in reducing risk to natural resources and communities. During the cooler weather months, fire and fuels managers worked closely with air quality and public health authorities, as well as with regional leadership, to conduct prescribed burns throughout in both Washington and Oregon.

Drought conditions are widespread. Areas of both Oregon and Washington are affected. Forecasts predict drier and warmer than average conditions are likely through June, July, and August in both states.

Safety is the priority, always. Comprehensive risk analysis is used to identify the safest and most appropriate management actions on every fire. In some cases, remote fires may offer opportunities to use fire to improve conditions, reduce fuels, and break a cycle of fire suppression creating conditions for large fires of megafires (such decisions, if made, will involve close collaboration with nearby communities).  There will be continued additional coordination and planning to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among wildland fire crews and support teams.

Plan for smoke.  Air Resource Advisors are using advanced smoke forecasting models to provide as much advance notice as possible of degraded air quality days from wildfire smoke. Smoke is an expected part of life in fire-adapted ecosystems, but it can be unpleasant and some community members – including very young children, the elderly, and those with certain heart, lung, and autoimmune conditions – are especially at risk. Public land managers and public health officials in encourage everyone to plan for how they’ll respond to poor air quality conditions. For smoke readiness tips, visit AirNow.gov.

Many wildfires are human-caused. Recreation visits have increased more than 75% in 2020; with more visitors, land managers need more people to be aware of potential causes of fires and what they can do to avoid starting a fire (and how to be ready if a fire starts).

Unattended or improperly extinguished campfires, parking a hot vehicle on dry grass, dragging metal tow chains over pavement or rocks, and use of motorized equipment (particularly equipment that throws sparks or gets extremely hot) are among potential causes of accidental fires.

When visiting public lands, including parks, forests and grasslands, check ahead to find out what seasonal fire restrictions are in effect, based on local conditions.  

Learn more about recreation and wildland fire prevention at SmokeyBear.com.

To find more outdoor recreation tips for wildland fire season, visit www.recreateresponsibly.org.

For more information about state and federal management of wildland fires in Oregon and Washington, including fire weather forecasts and daily fire season updates, visit the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center website. A map of current large fires is available at https://gacc.nifc.gov/nwcc/information/firemap.aspxFor more information about Fire, Fuels and Aviation management for the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management in the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon) and Alaska, visit https://www.fs.usda.gov/main/r6/fire-aviation

Government-politics / News / Oregon-Northwest / Top Stories

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Comments

3 Comments

  1. For over 30 years we’ve been doing an annual camping trip that used to be in August. About 15 years ago, we started moving it earlier and earlier to avoid the smoke. Now it’s late June. Last year that entire area burned down about 2 weeks after we were there.

  2. A modern country like the US and we can’t figure out how to put out fires. One of the big ones last year was in a remote area so it was allowed to continue burning, and then the big wind storm happened. I’ve been saying for 50 years, put out the fires. It costs a lot less to put out the fires than to have them get huge and kill people. Our public lands forests are a mess from years of neglect, sorry but it’s true. You ever go by a USFS office and wonder where everyone is? Here’s a hint, follow some of them around for a while. Put a GPS tracker on some vehicles. You’ll be in for a shock. The Forest Supervisor on the Plumas NF would come to the office, get a USFS truck, drive it home and hide it in his garage. The forest soil scientist, no one knew where he was for months at a time, he just didn’t come to work. On and on. This BS needs to change. And US BLM is worse, by far.

  3. Hey Fed,
    You are a great keyboard joke! I come on here just to read crap like yours. You have no clue what your talking about, and maybe you should have stayed in that hole, that is called California.
    So, I have been fighting wildfires for almost 20 years. Yes, there are some folks that work there are clowns and ruin the reputation of the Agency. But, most I have worked with want to do good for the public. I will be the first to admit, the agencies are not always good at land management. Its ole hippie liberals like yourself, that tie the agency up with lawsuits and then there is more red tape caused by those stupid lawsuits that tie the field going person from doing there jobs.
    With that beechie creek fire last year that was left burning. It was in a old fire scar that had snags (which is one of top killers in wildland firefighter), you know why there are snags from old burns cause of liberal lawsuits saying the agencies can’t log after a fire without going through more red tape. By the time get through all the tape the logs are worthless. I can go on and on about how liberals hand tie public lands managers!
    Do us a favor go back to Plumas and harass your liberal friends!

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