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Winter Wildfires Wane Along Oregon Coast

OPB | Jan. 27, 2014 2:02 p.m.

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Two wildfires burning along Oregon’s coast range are expected to be contained by mid-week.  That’s according to the Oregon Department of Forestry. 

The two fires erupted separately late last week in slash piles owned by Stimson Lumber Company and Weyerhaeuser Columbia Timberlands. 

ODF spokeswoman Ashley Lertora says the piles were deliberately burned a few weeks ago.  She says unseasonably warm and dry weather led the piles to reignite, while high winds helped spread the flames across 300 acres. 

Lertora says while winter wildfires are exceptionally rare, these blazes have left many wondering what this year’s fire season could look like if continues to be as dry as it has. 

“I think that’s the $64 million question,” she says. “I think that it will all depend on how much rain we get this spring.”

Whether this coming fire season will be worse than last year’s might be called the $122 million question.  That was the record-breaking cost of the 2013 fire season.  Last year also set a record for acreage burned.  

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