The fire season has now ended on all 16 million acres of Oregon forestland protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry. The last three districts – Klamath-Lake, Northeast Oregon and the Walker Range Forest Patrol Association – ended their fire seasons Friday morning, Oct. 22.
The 2021 wildfire seasons in ODF’s districts and forest protective associations lasted an average of 131 days, tying it with 2018 for fifth longest average fire season since 2000. The longest fire season average was 147 days back in 2002. The shortest was 99 days in 2019.
Individual districts had shorter or longer fire seasons depending on local fire conditions.
The longest wildfire season this year was ODF’s Southwest Oregon District, which was the first district to declare fire season back on May 12. That district, which protects Jackson and Josephine counties, was in fire season for 161 days – their third longest since 2000.
Almost as long were the fire seasons in ODF’s Klamath-Lake District and Walker Range Forest Patrol Association. Their fire seasons started on May 15 and lasted a total of 160 days. That makes 2021 the third longest fire season for both since 2000.
The shortest fire season this year was the North Cascade District, which protects Clackamas, east Multnomah, eastern Marion and northern Linn counties. It’s season lasted 98 days from June 25 to Oct. 1, about 12 days shorter than last year.
Statewide more than 800,000 acres burned in wildfires this year – fewer than in 2020 but above the 10-year average. A single fire, the 413,717-acre Bootleg Fire, accounted for about half the acres wildfires have burned so far this year. That fire was the third largest Oregon has experienced since 1900.
While wetter conditions, cooler temperatures and shorter days have reduced fire danger, ODF reminds Oregonians that wildfires can and do occur at any time of the year. Exercise caution when engaging in any activity involving burning outdoors, whether from a campfire or burning a debris pile. Check with your local fire jurisdiction as well before burning outdoors, as there may be restrictions in various places to protect air quality.