New fires in Idaho and California could make it more difficult for fire managers in Oregon and Washington to get the equipment and help they need. Those new fires are now first in line for firefighting resources that are shared around the country.
This region is now third in line for shared firefighting resources across the country.
The Pacific Northwest had previously been the top priority due in part to the fires burning in Southwest Oregon.
Carol Connolly is a fire information officer with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center. She says the region has more than 5,000 firefighters and support staff - mostly in Oregon. Connolly expects that number will hold steady.
She explained, “More than likely we won’t be getting more. When we put in orders, we’ll be prioritized with other areas in the nation. So we have to reallocate those as needed when new fires start.”
Connolly says her agency has already started shuffling crews and equipment among existing fires to areas with the greatest need.
Meanwhile, the threat of new fires could put even more strain on the resources that are here. Forecasters are calling for more lightning in Central and Eastern Oregon later this week.