SALEM — The state has spent $25.3 million on fighting wildfires this year, according to the Oregon Department of Forestry.
That figure came before this week’s 10,250-acre Lake Wallula Fire outside Hermiston.
Those are gross costs. The federal government will reimburse the state for some of that cost, but it can take years for the reimbursements to come through, a spokesman for ODF says.
And that amount doesn’t include the agency’s “base budget” for fire protection, which is about $48 million for permanent personnel, equipment, facilities and the cost of fighting smaller fires.
As of Friday, about 20,800 acres were burning in 585 fires across the state on ODF-protected lands.
A spokesman cautioned that those numbers should be taken with a grain of salt, as fires are dynamic by nature and their more precise size will take time to confirm.
The Oregon Department of Forestry protects about 16 million acres of forestland — both public and private — from fires.
Over the past 10 years, the average number of fires on ODF-protected land on July 27 has been 416 fires, with 13,405 acres burning.
The state agency maintains a public information site about the status of state wildfires at wildfireoregondeptofforestry.blogspot.com.
You can also check on smoke conditions in your community and throughout the state at oregonsmoke.blogspot.com.