Wildfire Awareness Month: OR Prepares for Fire Season
Thursday, May 6, 2021
PORTLAND, Ore. -- May is Wildfire Awareness Month, and the western United States is preparing for an active year.
Coming off a severe wildfire season where nine Oregonians were killed and 40,000 were displaced, preventing fires is on the minds of many in the state.
Kristin Babbs, president and CEO of Keep Oregon Green, said prevention is key.
"Over 70% of Oregon's wildfires are started by people, and that places the power of prevention squarely in our hands," Babbs contended. "Public lands saw large crowds last summer, and land managers expect to see those same high numbers again this year."
Babbs urged people to keep fire restrictions in mind before heading out. Near their homes, she advised people to keep close watch on debris burns and be careful when using machinery such as lawnmowers that could overheat and spark dry grasses.
Nearly the entire state is abnormally dry and more than three-quarters is experiencing moderate drought or higher.
Babbs pointed out there already have been fires. At the end of March, for instance, nearly 200 homes in Bend were evacuated because of a brush fire.
She added fire restrictions may be in effect depending on where folks are in the state.
"Whether folks are at home or on the job, or they're out having fun, predict the outcome of any outdoor activity that could possibly spark a wildfire," Babbs stressed. "Predictable is preventable."
Keep Oregon Green has a map on its website of current fire conditions and restrictions across the state.
Climate scientists note droughts and severe wildfire seasons are becoming more frequent as temperatures rise from climate change.
References:FEMA Wildfire Awareness Month information May 13, 2020
Oregon Wildfire Economic Recovery Council report January 4, 2021
Oregon Department of Forestry fire cause data October 30, 2020
NOAA Oregon drought map May 6, 2021
Keep Oregon Green current conditions May 6, 2021
NASA climate change and wildfire data February 22, 2021
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
ALBANY, N.Y. -- A new survey shows most New Yorkers approve of medical aid-in-dying legislation, and advocates for end-of-life autonomy said it is …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Ohioans across religious traditions have come together as one voice this week to speak out against capital punishment. Dozens of …
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Community college students in California are being encouraged to take a closer look at their education plans, to see if …
SPRINGDALE, Ark. -- New efforts are underway to help small-scale farms in Arkansas expand their business. The Food Conservancy, a northwest Arkansas …
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- A high percentage of rejected voter registrations in three of Ohio's biggest counties is raising some red flags. According to the …
CORRECTION: The last day to request absentee ballots in Virginia is Fri., Oct. 22. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Oct…
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A special court panel is hosting public hearings this month, asking Minnesotans what new political maps should look like, and …
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Texas has some of the weakest gun laws in America, and gun-control advocates say the permissive attitude may be why a student …