Winter-like weather is putting an end to the 2022 wildfire season. Not all the fires are out and the numbers of acres that burned are still being tallied, but the 2022 fire season was tame compared to previous years.
“Somewhere over 400,000 acres burned this year in Oregon,” said Edward Hiatt, Assistant Operations Director for US Forest Service Regions 6 and 10. “I’m guessing that’s probably a third to a half of what we saw the previous year.”
636,000 acres of large fires burned in Oregon and Washington this year, what’s known as Region 6 of the National Forest system.
By comparison, the Bootleg Fire scored 425,000 acres in a few weeks in 2021 on the Fremont and Winema National Forests.
Fire officials say a late winter and prolonged cool, wet spring delayed the onset of fire season.
“There were a couple of fires east of the Cascades this summer and there just happened to be aircraft in Redmond at the air tanker base. The fires started, air tankers were launched and they were able to attack them right away. Now, if there had been multiple large fires going on across the region, that would have been tough to do.”
The Cedar Creek that scorched 127,000 acres around Waldo Lake, forced evacuations and road closures is still only 75% contained.
“It would hate to say luck but there is some timing when you have the stuff where you need it and everything falls together for you,” Hiatt said.
The 76 large fires that burned in Oregon and Washington this year cost $550 million dollars to fight and there are still many bills to be paid.