The governors of eight western states have signed a proclamation recognizing May 2016 as Wildfire Awareness Month. The chief executives of Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California, Idaho, Utah, Montana and South Dakota encourage all citizens to “take steps to better prepare their home and communities for wildfires and work toward becoming a fire-adapted community.”
These states, in partnership with fire prevention agencies and organizations, are working together to increase awareness of wildfires. This year’s wildfire season is predicted to pose a substantial threat across Oregon. Gov. Kate Brown’s office, along with the Keep Oregon Green Association, the Oregon Department of Forestry, and the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal, is seeking the public’s assistance to help prevent human-caused wildfires this summer.
OREGON’S BACK-TO-BACK FIRE SEASONS AND CURRENT WILDFIRE RISK
In Oregon, approximately 70 percent of all wildland fires are human-caused. 2013 was an epic wildfire year in terms of state-protected acreage burned (103,809) and suppression costs ($122 million). 2014 was another endless season of fire, with 712 human-caused fires burning nearly six times the 10-year average acreage (20,052). The high cost prompted a substantial change to Oregon’s wildland fire insurance policy, doubling the annual deductible to $50 million and nearly doubling the premium to $3.75 million. Adding insult to injury, Oregon faced another record-breaking fire season in 2015 with record low snowpack, the driest conditions in 25 years, more than 800 human-caused fires, and $76.5 million spent on suppression.
During May, Keep Oregon Green along with federal, state, tribal and local fire agencies, will continue to promote wildfire prevention topics via traditional and social media each week to help homeowners and recreationists learn how to ensure their outdoor activities do not spark the next wildfire. For more information, visit these websites: Keep Oregon Green, Oregon Dept. of Forestry, and the Office of the State Fire Marshal.