A wildfire near Estacada, Oregon, southeast of Portland, has grown to more than 3,500 acres and threatens more than 160 homes.
Firefighters are expected to catch a break from the hot, dry conditions for a few days until the next round of warm weather moves into the region this weekend. The “36 Pit” fire is just the latest in a series of large fires in the Northwest this summer.
Doug Decker of the Oregon Department of Forestry briefed state lawmakers in Salem Tuesday. He said fires in the Northwest have been among the worst in the nation this summer.
“We’ve been the focal point nationally for up to 40 plus days,” Decker said. “We’ve been the number one priority nationally. And that’s not a priority that we would covet.”
Decker said the vast majority of blazes have been caused by lightning. But he added some of the larger fires have been caused by humans.
For the second year in a row, Oregon is cashing in on an insurance policy meant to help pay for the cost of fighting wildfires.