Nearly 450,000 acres of land have already burned across the state during this year’s wildfire season, Gov. Kate Brown announced during a wildfire briefing Tuesday, July 20. Nine large fires are currently burning.
“The weather conditions – windy and dry with lightning – are truly problematic,” Brown said. “It's shaping up to be another difficult wildfire season.”
There are extensive drought conditions throughout the state, with 19 counties in drought emergencies. Teams from Utah and California have partnered with Oregon to respond to the Bootleg fire in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Lakeview.
“Being prepared is one of the best ways you can help frontline firefighters do theirs jobs,” Brown said. “Make a plan with your family, sign up for local alerts at oralert.gov so you’re aware of fires in your community.”
Department of Forestry Fire Chief Doug Grafe said drought conditions across Oregon are driving the fire potential.
“Ninety percent of the state is in exceptional, extreme or severe drought conditions,” Grafe said.
The heat dome in late June – with 100 plus degrees – propelled the state into early fire conditions. There have been 580 fires to date.
“The future forest for the remainder of the season continues to look above normal dry and above normal temperatures,” Grafe said. “This is not going to return to normal anytime soon.”
Grafe said the Bootleg fire, the largest fire in the nation, has had 387,000 acres burned and is 30 percent contained. The fire began July 6. Lines are established on the west side.
“The east side remains problematic,” Grafe said.
State Fire Marshal Mariana Ruiz-Temple said significant work has been done on the southeast side. Lines are being secured and work is being done to contain the fire in and around community structures.
The Elbow Creek Fire began July 15 and has grown over 16,000 acres and is 15 percent contained, Grafe said. The fire is in the Grande Ronde River drainage near Mud Springs.
The Grandview Fire, reported July 11, located near Sisters, is now 72 percent contained and 6,032 acres burned.
“That’s going to be turned over to the local district this Thursday,” Grafe said.
For more information, visit https://wildfire.oregon.gov/