Wildfires are largely out across the Pacific Northwest, but the economic fallout continues in many communities.
Wildfires closed highways and tourist attractions this summer and fall in places like the Columbia River Gorge and the southern Oregon coast. In Ashland, Oregon Shakespeare Festival director Cynthia Rider said wildfire smoke forced the cancellation of nine outdoor performances. Rider said it’s the fourth year of the past five where that’s been necessary, and she’s worried about the long-term impact to the area’s reputation.
“A disappointing vacation when all outdoor activities are unappealing at best, or impossible in certain situations, are a true threat to our region’s economic vitality,” said Rider.
According to an economic advisor to Governor Kate Brown, businesses in areas affected by wildfires have experienced losses in sales of up to 60 percent and laid off seasonal employees earlier than usual.
Copyright Northwest News Network 2017