We knew it was a bad year for fires. Now the numbers are in. The cost to fight fires in Oregon hit a record high of $514.6 million this year.
Data from the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center shows Oregon’s 2018 wildland fire costs flew past last year’s record-setting total of $447 million.
“We’ve reached a point where people have stopped calling it ‘summer,’ — instead, they just call it ‘fire season,’” said Natalie Weber to the Statesman Journal, information officer for the Oregon Department of Forestry in Southwest Oregon.
More than 846,000 acres burned this year in Oregon, well above historic averages but not record-breaking like the cost to fight them.
“The difference this year — what made it so expensive — was having so many large wildfires that lasted not just weeks but months,” said Carol Connolly, information officer for NWCC. “We also had a lot of large fires close to populated areas.”
The most expensive wildfires were in southwest Oregon, mostly caused by a mid-July lightning storm that started 160 wildfires.
While costs are important indicators, we must not forget the courage and hard work shown by the men and women who fought the fires. You can help thank our firefighters by downloading a poster on this page created by Oregon Forests Forever.