Biscuit Fire 10-Year Anniversary

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Mon, July 9 2012 at 6:15 PM, Updated: Tue, July 10 2012 at 6:55 PM

There's no doubt about it, fire season is underway.

"Things are drying out really quickly," said Brian Ballou, Fire Prevention Specialist with the Oregon Department of Forestry.

The 10-year anniversary of the Biscuit fire is just around the corner.
It was one of the largest Oregon wildfires in the past century, burning about 500,000 acres west of Obrien.

"It was a cluster of lightning caused fires in a roadless area and it just got totally out of hand," recalled Ballou.

But what has changed since then? And are we safer now?

"There's been an increase in available contract helicopters [...] a  beefing up of the general fire fighting force [...] we have a bigger pool to draw from," Ballou said.

According to Ballou, over the last 10-15 years, Congress has increased funding for fire prevention.

"Since Biscuit, a tremendous amount of work has gone into fuel reduction...and that has really paid off," said Ballou.

Fire agencies are as prepared as they can be for the next big disaster. However, Ballou said if multiple fires are burning all over the state, like what happened during the Biscuit fire, resources will still be stretched thin.

"Mother nature has tricks up her sleeve and we can't always fully respond to everything she throws at us," Ballou said.

With temperatures expected to stay high throughout the week, fire danger will increase from moderate to high by Friday.

"It's time to get a little more serious about preventing fires cause we're picking up several a day," said Ballou.

The number of fires are expected to stay steady as our hot weather continues.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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