By editorial board • 

Fire threat demands community vigilance

It’s turned relentlessly hot and dry in Oregon, and we all know what that means. Wildfire season is upon us.

Archaeological records show wildfire has helped shape our planet, for better and worse, for at least 420 million years. On average, more than 100,000 wildfires burn 4 to 5 million acres of American range and timberland every year, striking throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Wildfire requires three elements — heat, fuel and oxygen. And they appear in great natural abundance in the U.S., particularly the hotter, drier West.

Four out of five wildfires stemfrom human activity, often careless human activity. Already, we’ve suffered a significant local wildfire attributed to a runaway slash burn.

We can’t prevent all wildfire, nor would we want to. However, we can greatly reduce the danger to people, homes and communities by taking particular care when Nature dials up the heat.

Comments

Don Dix

Let's see -- 4 out of 5 wildfires stem from human activity, often careless (80K out of 100K). By simple deduction, then only 20% of wildfires can be attributed to nature. If that's true, then someone please explain why climate change is always the go to blame anytime a wildfire breaks out. Could it possibly be the 'money aspect' of spouting human caused climate change, instead of the simple truth?

And before the slash burn got out of control, several people (including myself) wondered aloud why would anyone be burning (or allowed to burn) when dry, east winds had been blowing up to 20-25 mph. What happened to common sense?

sbagwell

Climate change makes brush and woods much drier than usual, making is much more suspeptible to catching fire due to human activity.
It could be a chain saw, a slash burn or a tossed cigarette. The conditions at the time make them more or less likely to trigger a fire. And when conditions are bad, because it's hot and dry, runaway fires cause much greater devastation.
Steve