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Eclipse Mania Means Oregon Needs Wildfire Help From Washington

The Whitewater fire, burning since late July in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, is in the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse.
Inciweb
The Whitewater fire, burning since late July in the Mount Jefferson Wilderness, is in the path of totality for the upcoming solar eclipse.





A state of emergency, excessive heat and an extended period of dry weather are unlikely to pair well with an influx of up to 1.5 million visitors in Oregon in two weeks.

And state wildfire managers are scrambling to prepare. 



The eclipse’s so-called “path of totality” passes right through the heart of Oregon’s wildfire country. Fire danger in every fire district in Oregon has been listed as 'High' or 'Extreme'

That’s why the state’s Department of Forestry has requested assistance from Washington’s Department of Natural Resources. 



“We help them and they help us and they are very concerned,” Washington’s Fire Operations Chief Aaron Schmidt said. “They’re thinking anywhere from 500,000 to 1.5 million extra folks in Oregon and across the landscape.”



Schmidt said 90 percent of wildfires are human caused.

Reservable campsites on public land in Oregon were snapped up months ago.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.