WesCom News Service

The 2018 fire season was the costliest ever in Oregon, totaling more than $533 million, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. The 2017 season had held the record with $447 million, but due to the longevity of the fires in 2018, that record was easily surpassed.

In the Northwest, more than 1 million acres burned in the 2018 fire season, which continued through mid-November. More than 901,000 acres in Oregon, and 438,000 in Washington burned over the summer months, according to a summary from the U.S. Forest Service regarding the wildland fire season.

According to the summary, the longer the fire season — and the more severe the season becomes — the more hours the fire personnel are exposed to. It said there were more than 7 million work hours within the Pacific Northwest and Alaska regions spent suppressing fire.

“Statistically, we know we can expect a serious accident or fatality at about a tenth of that number,” according to the summary. “In that regard, the work our people did in managing risk at all levels can be considered successful.”

Through the season, Risk Management Assistance Teams provided analytical support to fire officials so they could make strategic risk management decisions focused on “integrating lessons learned into a best practices model that can help bolster decision quality for those managing large fires.”

The summary also listed the communities most threatened by wildfire. Locations were identified with greater potential for reaching housing units using a purely spatial approach.

Among the most threatened communities are Bend, Redmond and Spokane, Washington, according to the summary.

To read the summary in its entirety go to: bit.ly/bbfirereport.

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