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Oregon's Changing Fire Season

A case submitted by

Amber Ray

The following story describes my observations of how the fire season in Oregon has worsened over the last 20 years, and how that has affected members of my family.  

From the time I was five years old until I started college, I spent every summer in Oregon. To this day, I still go back to Oregon almost every summer to visit family in Eugene and Portland. While there were always some fires around toward the end of the summer, they largely kept to the same areas and didn’t often get too out of control. In the last three or four years, however, this has not been the case. Almost every summer now my family deals with a significant amount of wildfire smoke, either from nearby fires or from fires hundreds of miles away that have grown out of control. When I lived in Oregon as a child, I don’t remember ever even considering preparing for fire evacuation. A few years ago, my grandparents were on an evacuation watch and came close to having to evacuate. Now, they keep a certain amount of things ready to go every summer just in case. To me, this shift shows how much the fire season is changing on the West Coast.


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