Firefighters brace for tough Pacific Northwest wildfire season

Experts predict the upcoming wildfire season will have higher risks of big, costly fires. That’s coming after 2018′s record-setting fire season, which racked up wildfire-fighting bills of $514.6 million. The above-average concern focuses on northwest Oregon and western Washington in June, then includes all of western Oregon and eastern Washington by July, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

About 15% of Oregon is facing abnormally dry conditions, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Most of the dryness surrounds the Columbia River Gorge and northwest Oregon.

A U.S. Forest Service study found communities in southern and central Oregon are most at risk from forest fires. The study ranked each community in Washington and Oregon on its susceptibility to wildfire risk. The top five included Medford and Bend.

— OregonLive