SALEM, Ore. — This season’s wildfires pushed Oregon’s firefighting resources and funds to an unprecedented extreme, with more than half a billion dollars spent on just this year alone.
According to the Statesman Journal, this year’s wildfire costs passed last year’s state-record total of 447 million dollars.
Firefighting agencies say the hot and dry weather combined with this past summer’s huge lightning storm contributed to the new record.
The cost of fighting wildfires in Oregon has hit an all-time high this year reaching just under 515 million dollars so far, that’s about 67 million dollars more than last year.
According to the Statesman Journal, this year’s most expensive wildfires stemmed from the lightning storm that struck right here in southern Oregon this past July.
According to Oregon Department of Forestry spokesperson Natalie Weber, “there were 90 fires that were sparked from that on ODF protected lands in just that day alone.”
So far this year, ODF has spent 100 million dollars on fires state-wide, 60 million dollars of that was spent solely in the southwest district.
“We’re dealing with these fires a lot more than any other portion of the state [or] any other district. To see 60 million out of that 100 million is not too surprising,” said Weber.
Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest says they’ve spent 115 million dollars this year, which is 23 million more than last year’s total costs of 92 million.
Nearly 840-thousand acres burned in Oregon this year — an area larger than the state of Rhode Island, according to the Statesman Journal.
The state’s largest fires were the Klondike and Taylor Creek fires, that burned just west of Grants Pass.
Combined, the two fires reached 220-thousand acres and cost 128 million dollars.