Oregon Governor Kate Brown said on Wednesday (9/23) that Oregon’s wildfires have “turned a corner” as firefighters continue to make significant progress on containing the flames. However, she cautioned that Oregonians still face a long road to recovery. “As we pivot from the urgent nature of disaster response towards recovery I want to acknowledge as well that the coming days, weeks and months will also be very challenging,” Brown said. In updating the situation Brown went onto say that “A little over two weeks ago, we faced unseasonably dry, windy and hot weather conditions — what developed in the days to follow was an all-encompassing fire event, unlike Oregon has ever seen.” Approximately 1,500 square miles have burned in Oregon. Officials say, prior to this year, the average of land burned each year in Oregon for the last ten years was roughly half that. Doug Grafe, the chief of Fire Protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, announced that the wildfires have cost $78 million so far, and by the end of the season could reach $100 million. Firefighters and response resources have been provided from 47 states, Grafe said. But even with the increased response, firefighters are still battling seven large fires. One of the largest blazes is the Lionshead Fire, which has burned nearly 320 square miles and is only15% contained. Grafe said he is hopeful that cool and wet weather, which is expected to remain in Oregon through Saturday, will bring relief.
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Officials shift to recovery following Oregon wildfires