Fire is an essential part of Oregon’s ecosystem, but it is also a serious threat to life and property particularly in the state’s growing rural communities. Wildfires are fires occurring in areas having large areas of flammable vegetation that require a suppression response. Areas of wildfire risk exist throughout the state with areas in central, southwest and northeast Oregon having the highest risk. The Oregon Department of Forestry has estimated that there are about 200,000 homes in areas of serious wildfire risk.
The impact on communities from wildfire can be huge. In 1990, Bend’s Awbrey Hall Fire destroyed 21 homes, causing $9 million in damage and costing over $2 million to suppress. The 1996 Skeleton fire in Bend burned over 17,000 acres and damaged or destroyed 30 homes and structures. Statewide that same year, 218,000 acres were burned, 600 homes threatened and 44 homes were lost. The 2002 Biscuit fire in southern Oregon affected over 500,000 acres and cost $150 million to suppress.
Wildfire can be divided into three categories: interface, wildland, and firestorms. Although Clatsop County is most susceptible to interface fires, wildland and firestorm events are also possible.
Video and Public Service Announcements
- Retro (1960s) "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" PSA
- Retro (1980s) "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires" PSA