Fire season could cost you

, Written by Jennifer Elliott, Posted: Mon, June 2 2014 at 6:10 PM, Updated: Mon, June 2 2014 at 11:40 PM

Jackson County, Ore. -- The dry conditions could make this one of the costliest fire seasons in Oregon history.

"The forest fuels, vegetation is very dry," comments Brian Ballou, who works at the Oregon Department of Forestry. They issued the announcement that Monday is the start of fire season in Jackson, Josephine, and Klamath county.

"We're budgeting about 6.8 million dollars," says Ballou.

But will that be enough? Last year the state of Oregon had to ask lawmakers for 40 million dollars from the general fund to cover expenses.

"Last year we had about 277 human caused fires, and in the neighborhood of 130 lightning caused fires," says Ballou.

Speaking of those man-made fires, Ballou says the state can attempt to collect for the cost of putting those out. Lets take a look and see what that could cost you to foot the bill. 

For just a couple engines to respond it could be around two to three hundred dollars. For each additional resource the bill grows exponentially.

"You get two or three engines, employ a bulldozer your talking a couple thousand dollars," says Ballou.

If a plane is called in for retardant drops, that costs 12 to 15 thousand dollars a load.

"The bill is going to be pretty hefty," states Ballou.

Which is part of the reason, the Medford Fire Department just launched it's own Facebook page. 
"It's really an information hub. We'll have incident information, fire and life safety information," Fire Marshal Greg Kleinberg tells us.

"We are ramping up," says Kleinberg.

This year especially, firefighters need you, to protect both the state's coffers and your own bottom line by preventing fires. 

"We expect fire danger to increase day by day now," concludes Ballou.

Link to Medford Fire-Rescue's new Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/MedfordFireDepartment?fref=ts

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About the Author

Jennifer Elliott

NBC5 News at Sunrise co-anchor Jennifer Elliott spent most of her life in the Rogue Valley.

After graduating from Brigham Young University–Idaho, she was excited to come home again. Jennifer began her career at NBC5 in 2011 as a production assistant.

Her loves include drawing, playing the organ, fishing and of course, her husband and young son.

Catch Jennifer co-anchoring with Travis Koch weekdays on NBC 5 News at Sunrise starting at 5:30am.

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