Mild fire season adds up to firefighting savings

This year, more than $83.4 million have been spent. In 2018 around this time, $521 million had been spent.

Posted: Sep 9, 2019 6:21 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- 2019's fire season has been milder than year's past, resulting in considerably less spending on fire suppression in Washington and Oregon, according to data from the Interagency Coordination Center. 

Officials said that 178,129 acres have burned across the two states so far this year, compared to a total of 1,273,097 acres in 2018. According to interagency fire officer Eric Johnson, this decrease is largely because of cool and wet conditions throughout the summer.

The Milepost 97 Fire burned thousands of acres near Canyonville this summer.

Hikers in the area said that the difference was notable. 


"Remember the last few summers when the sky was just brown and the air quality wasn't good? This summer, we could go outside, we could run and do things without worrying about air quality," said hiker Caroline Gillette.

The decrease accompanies less spending on fire suppression. This year, more than $83.4 million have been spent. In 2018 around this time, $521 million had been spent.

"There's been a lot less hours worked. We've had to import a lot less firefighters," said Johnson.

Though fire season has been mild and summer is winding down, Johnson warns that fires are still possible. He said that campers tend to abandon their campfires more frequently in the fall season, and lightning storms commonly start fires.

"We start having dry air from the interior and eastern Oregon come across the mountains into western Oregon and dry out and that's when some of our largest fires have occurred."

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