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Why Oregon’s 2022 wildfire season was less severe

Oregon has a one-of-its-kind insurance policy to help offset the cost of fighting wildfires.
Infrared cameras allowed for quicker detection of fires in remote areas.

Oregon’s 2022 wildfire season was less severe than previous years.

Human-caused wildfires burned 97% fewer acres on state-protected land this year than on average, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. Damage from lightning-caused fires also declined.

ODF representative Jessica Prakke said new cameras and newly outfitted aircraft allowed officials to locate fires sooner. Additionally, she credits outreach campaigns for more careful public behavior.

“With the way our fire seasons have been recently, fire is at the top of Oregonians' minds.”

Prakke said a wet spring delayed the fire season, although parts of Oregon still experienced extended droughts. She advised caution until dry conditions end completely.

The ODF will expand its use of technology moving forward. In 2021, the state senate allotted over $200 million dollars for additional wildfire protections.

Nathan Wilk is a freelance reporter and former reporting intern. He began in radio at a young age, serving as a DJ and public affairs host across Oregon. He is a senior at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.