Oregon tourism pummeled by wildfire smoke


Split image of Crater Lake impacted by wildfire smoke, courtesy the National Park Service

Wildfires have a severe impact on Oregon’s tourism economy, according to new data.

Travel Oregon recently released a wildfire impact study that found millions lost due to wildfires. Crater Lake National Park also saw a staggering decrease in visitation during the month of July thanks to smoke.

It’s not just the acres burned that make wildfires devastating, but there may also be long-lasting consequences for Oregon’s economy.

Wildfires hurt the economy of Southern Oregon

Travel Oregon released a wildfire impact study in July and found that Oregon lost $51.5 million in visitor spending due to the 2017 wildfires.

Last year’s fire season had the worst smoke coverage since 2000.

Josephine County lost $680,000 last year, while Jackson County lost $2.8 million in spending because of fires.

We can assume that Oregon’s tourism economy suffered greatly from fires this summer like they did in 2017.

Also read: $181 million. That’s how much wildfires have cost as of August 6 2018
Smoke drives away Crater Lake visitors

For the second year in a row, Crater Lake National Park experienced a decline in attendance during the peak visitor months of summer. Park Superintendent Craig Ackerman blames the wildfires.

The number of visitors in July was 22 percent lower than last year.

When speaking to the Bend Bulletin, Ackerman said there were days when smoke levels reached hazardous levels to breathe, making it difficult to view the iconic lake.

“We had some days where you could not see Wizard Island standing on the rim above it,” said Ackerman.

After a thunderstorm swept across the region in July, the park needed to bring in an outside team of firefighters to contend with the Timber Crater 6 Fire in the park’s remote northeastern corner. The fire grew to more than 3,100 acres and required 700 people to contain it. This left the park shrouded in choking smoke.

The park also received smoke from a number of fires burning in the Rogue Valley and near the Oregon-California border.

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