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Wildfires In Northwest Burn Record Number Of Acres In 2012

The Forest Service and BLM say 2012 has been the worst fire season in the last 100 years.  

Pole Creek fire from a helicopter (Tom Lunde)

Pole Creek fire from a helicopter (Tom Lunde)

Oregon and Washington have reported fewer fires than average, but a record number of acres burned. 

Low winter snowpack in southeast Oregon created the conditions for a massive range fire in July.

Then, thousands of lightning strikes in August and September ignited wildfires across the region.

And a summer dry spell that still hasn’t ended also fueled the flames, says Terry Marcha, a meteorologist with the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

“I think the most important thing is whether or not we get that periodic, maybe every two weeks, a little bit of rain, because that keeps a lid on things,” Marcha said. “This year we went through the entire season, not any rain at all.”  

The interagency wildfire team says so far it has spent about a quarter of a billion dollars fighting fires in the Northwest this year.


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