Close to 7,000 firefighters and support personnel from across the nation are now battling wildfires east of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington. More than 5,000 are fighting 14 large fires in Oregon and about 1700 are fighting 6 large fires in Washington.
The firefighters include a hotshot crew from Mississippi and Illinois and teams from California, Idaho, and Alaska. The National Guard in Oregon and Washington are providing helicopters to aid in the firefighting effort.
Carol Connolly is a spokeswoman with the Northwest Interagency coordination center. She says the risk of new fires starting could increase again next week.
“With the cooler temperatures and the decrease in winds, firefighters will get a reprieve for a couple of days. However, after Sunday there’s another system coming through with the potential for more lightning coming into the region.”
Connolly says crews and resources in the Northwest are already stretched thin. She says people can help prevent new human-caused fires by observing bans on activities like smoking, campfires, and chainsaw use.