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Wildfire season's slow start doesn't mean fire danger is gone, experts say

While we are seeing a slow start to wildfire season, experts say we're not out the woods yet.

Posted: Jul 16, 2019 6:57 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- While we are seeing a slow start to wildfire season, experts say we're not out the woods yet.

Kyle Reed with the Douglas Forest Protective Association said by this time last year, more than 500 wildfires were burning 40,000 acres across the state. So far this year just over 400 fires have burned 1,400 acres. He said the drop in fires is due to wetter weather and fewer lighting strikes.

"Last year we had 152 fires at this point just caused from lighting, so that's one of the bigger factors of why those numbers are down this year," Reed said.

But Reed said peak fire season in Oregon doesn't start till late July or early August, and there is a lot of summer left.

Marcus Kauffman with the Oregon Department of Forestry said they are using the slower start to the season to train seasonal firefighters. He said it will only take a few hot and dry days to push Lane County into the high fire danger category.

"The time when fires really start to run on us, those are just around the corner in the future," Kauffman said.

Officials are asking the public to obey all fire restrictions that are in place to avoid sparking up fires.

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