Decades Of Increasing Wildfire Destruction Finds Oregon On Brink Of Another Intense Season

May 7, 2021

While last year’s wildfire season was unprecedented in Oregon, residents are warned that this newfound intensity is not going away. 

The Ponina Fire in Oregon burned actively on April 18, 2021.
Credit National Interagency Fire Center/OR Dept of Forestry /

Doug Grafe is the Oregon Department of Forestry’s Chief of Fire Protection. He notes that statewide, the 10-year average for acreage burned between 1991 and 2000 was 170,000.  The decade after that was 360,000 acres burned on a 10-year average.

Grafe says this decade isn’t looking too great, either.

“Culminating with 2020, we’re at 680,000 acres burned on a ten-year average," he said. "Clearly the complexity of fires across our landscape is increasing.  

"And Oregonians pulling together for recovery, preparedness, and prevention is paramount for us to live with this fire condition, which continues to escalate.” 

Grafe says the next three months shows below average precipitation and above average temperatures.  He says the south central area around Klamath is looking especially like a hot spot for this coming wildfire season.

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