MEDFORD, Ore. – Governor Kate Brown addressed this historic fire season in a press conference Tuesday. She said despite the extreme start we’re only at the beginning of fire season.
The Bootleg Fire has now become the 4th largest fire in modern Oregon history and it’s barely mid-July. Governor Kate Brown said 90% of Oregon is in a drought. As a result, she’s urging Oregonians to be careful and prepare for the long haul.
“It’s mid-July and already we’re 450,000 acres have burned across the state,” said Governor Brown, “We currently have 9 large fires burning in Oregon, including the country’s largest with the Bootleg Fire”.
Despite a severe season so far, there’s still plenty of months ahead. State Fire Marshal, Mariana Ruiz-Temple, who’s at the bootleg fire, said conditions are extremely dry, which plays against fighting fires
“We are seeing conditions that are creating fires to be more complex and on our landscapes longer. In terms of where those fires have been to date, they’ve been in and around communities,” said Ruiz-Temple.
Governor Brown said in these conditions, no matter where you live, you should make a fire plan with your family now. Know your evacuation zone and have a meeting place in case you get disconnected from loved ones. The important thing is putting that plan together now before the emergency.
“Last year’s historic fire season taught us that being prepared can truly be the difference between life and death. Being prepared is also one of the best ways you can help our front-line firefighters do their jobs,” said Governor Brown.
But with another stressful fire season already underway the Governor said the state is looking at ways to prevent this from happening in the future through legislation targeting climate change.
The Governor’s office has called for additional federal resources for help. There are already teams from California and Utah helping fight these fires.