PORTLAND, Ore ( Associated Press) — Oregon is set to see a potentially “challenging” wildfire season this summer, despite a wet and cold spring across much of western Oregon, the state’s top fire watchers said. one of them said on Monday.
Rain and snow have helped push back the fire season, which threatened to begin earlier this month, according to Mike Shaw, fire chief of the Oregon Department of Forestry. But they noted much rainfall along the coast and in the Willamette Valley, which hasn’t made it through the Cascade Mountains to central, southern and eastern Oregon, Oregonian/Oregonlive reported.,
Shaw said the extension of drought conditions has set the stage for a rapid spread of the fires later this summer.
“This will likely translate into a very challenging fire season,” Shaw said at a news conference. “It will be very difficult to quell fires that start in these areas.”
Governor Kate Brown said climate change has added complexity to the state’s wildfire response. It has declared drought in 15 counties, the first level Oregon has seen in recent history.
The state Senate is preparing with the help of Bill 762, which Brown signed into law last year. Bill provided to hire additional firefighting aircraft and more wild land firefighters.
The crew is expected to be strategically deployed across the state.
The governor urged residents to sign up for emergency alerts through the state’s website, prepare a bag in case an evacuation is ordered, and work to stop the fire.
“Most fires are man-made. Please be smart and be careful,” Brown said.