Gov. Kate Brown addresses Oregon’s historic fire season

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.

NBC5 News reporter Katie Streit comes from her hometown, Las Vegas. Katie went to the Hank Greenspun School of Journalism & Media Studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Katie won a Student Emmy for her coverage of the Las Vegas Shooting Anniversary. She also hosted and produced the university's political news show, where she interviewed Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak and Congresswoman Dina Titus (NV-1). Her passion for politics turned into a coveted internship at the US Capitol in Washington D.C. In her final months working in the Las Vegas area, she was recognized for her journalism achievements by the Nevada Broadcaster's Foundation. Katie is excited to tell the stories of local Southern Oregonians and Northern Californians. Feel free to contact her at [email protected]
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