Forest Service says Pacific Northwest at ‘significant’ wildfire risk


Summer of 2023 is only halfway over, noted a July 27 news release from the U.S. Forest Service, and low spring rainfall has resulted in abnormally dry conditions in the Pacific Northwest. 

Combined with persistent hot temperatures across the region, the Forest Service said the situation poses “significant risk of wildfires, and residents of Oregon and Washington are urged to take precautions to prevent human-caused wildfire starts.”  

The Pacific Northwest region has experienced drier-than-normal conditions over the past several months, the news release said, citing weather records from the Northwest Coordinator Center Predictive Services Outlook. 

“This dryness, combined with record and near-record heat, has resulted in excessively dry vegetation in many areas,” said the release. “As a result, a new fire start could grow quickly, and existing fires may remain on the landscape until weather conditions change. This raises the threat of prolonged smoke impacts, which can have serious health consequences for those with respiratory issues.”

To mitigate wildfire risk, the Forest Service is encouraging the public to:

  • Prevent human-caused wildfires. To report a wildfire, call 911.
  • Keep an eye on smoke forecasts and plan outdoor recreation accordingly.
  • Stay informed of fire restrictions and fire closures before heading out.

Fire restrictions will likely increase in the coming weeks, the Forest Service stated. Already, fireworks are prohibited on Forest Service land at all times ,and the Gifford Pinchot National Forest has burning restrictions in place. For additional information on current and predicted fire weather, check out the Northwest Coordinator Center Predictive Services Outlook: