The Forest Service and BLM say 2012 has been the worst fire season in the last 100 years. Oregon and Washington have reported fewer fires than average, but a record number of acres burned.
Low winter snowpack in southeast Oregon created the conditions for a massive range fire in July. Then, thousands of lightning strikes in August and September ignited wildfires across the region. And a summer dry spell that still hasn’t ended also fueled the flames says Terry Marcha, a meteorologist with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.
“I think the most important thing is whether or not we get that periodic, maybe every two weeks, a little bit of rain. Because that keeps a lid on things. This year we went through the entire season, not any rain at all. ”
The interagency wildfire team says, so far, its spent about a quarter of a billion dollars fighting fires in the Northwest this year.
Copyright 2012 Oregon Public Broadcasting