BEND, OR -- A mild winter has resulted in low snowpack across Oregon, and officials are worried about the upcoming wildfire season. Carol Connolly with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center tells KBND they are bracing for a tough summer. "It could prove to be a challenging year for Central Oregon and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Several counties have already declared drought emergencies by the Governor and there are other drought conditions out there."
Despite the current data, Connolly admits it's difficult to know what's ahead. "There's no way to predict how big the fire year will be, no way to predict the largest fires in Central Oregon," she says. "But, indications from the past look at trends and it looks like it will be a similar fire season as last year." She says in 2014, "We had 19 fire management teams and 1.3 million acres burned. We had 12,000 firefighters in Oregon and California. One of the things that can happen- we may be in competition for these resources ina big fire year."
Connolly says Oregon's wildfire season typically gets underway in June. Right now, the southeast portion of the state is consideredthe driest.
Photo: Two Bulls Fire, Bend 2014