Wildfire ‘terrible trifecta’: Drought, temps, fuel

To date, more than 151,000 acres hit by wildfires in region

Picture of a wildfire. (KOIN, file)
Picture of a wildfire. (KOIN, file)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Since June 1, more than 151,000 acres of land in the Northwest have been affected by wildfires, but officials said we’re in a bit of a lull right now.

John Saltenberger of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, July 17, 2015 (KOIN)
John Saltenberger of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, July 17, 2015 (KOIN)

But John Saltenberger of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center said the wildfires are expected to come fast and strong beginning around the end of July.

“High fire danger plus the sufficient number of ignitions is what causes us to get busy here,” he told KOIN 6 News.

Saltenberger and most of the major fire agency leaders met with Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden to discusse solutions and resources.

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (blue jacket) met with major fire agency leaders about the wildfire season, July 17, 2015 (KOIN)
Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden (blue jacket) met with major fire agency leaders about the wildfire season, July 17, 2015 (KOIN)

“Oregon is less than a month into summer and we are already facing the potential for a terrible trifecta of drought, high temps and fuel build up on the forest floor,” Wyden said.

The major concern comes from lightning. So far this year, there has been almost double the amount of lightning strikes compared to the same period a year ago.

“Lighting can happen anywhere and fires that happen in high country are difficult to access for firefighters,” Saltenberger said.

The wildfires in Oregon and Washington so far this year have already cost more than $62 million.

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