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Hundreds of fires extinguished so far this summer, Oregon Department of Forestry says

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Wildfire firefighter

SALEM, Ore. -- The Oregon Department of Forestry reported that as of August 15, ODF districts have suppressed 418 fires this summer.

The ODF says the fires they have extinguished thus far have only burned about 582 acres. According to the ODF, the 10-year average of acres burned each year by this point in the fire season is 56,121 acres burned. Officials say there is a possibility for holdover fires to start from lightning strikes, but ODF firefighters have done well in keeping fires small.

Tim Holschbach, Deputy Chief of Policy and Planning for the Fire Protection Division at ODF, says the increased number of firefighters available has been instrumental in knocking out the fires.

“Investments into the wildfire protection system from Senate Bill 762 allowed us to not only hire additional season firefighters to increase response, but also additional full-time positions to increase response capacity year-round,” said Holschbach. “I can’t say how many millions of dollars in firefighting costs we have saved by being able to quickly suppress these fires -- keeping them small, off the landscape and out of our communities.”

The ODF says the early detection of wildfires has been a critical part of keeping them under control. To that end, the ODF has been using a multi-mission aircraft that was made possible through an investment from the Oregon Forest Land Protection fund supplied by landowner dollars paid for fire protection each year. The ODF says the aircraft has thermal cameras that feed information back to a firefighting database that helps dispatchers send crews and equipment to combat fires. Those crews and equipment often include one of the 27 aircraft on exclusive contract with Oregon. The ODF says these aircraft are instrumental in suppressing fires in hard-to-reach areas.

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