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Lightning from afternoon thunderstorms has started several forest fires in the remote regions of the Cascade Mountain Range and across Oregon. The smokes have been reported by fire lookouts, who estimate the fires to be relatively small. What should be done?

Can't we just let them burn?

Certainly, natural wildfires have burned for thousands for years, but in the middle of summer, fire could devastate thousands of scenic acres and threaten wildlife habitat, air quality, and high desert riparian areas. In addition, there is the potential threat to human life, structures and private property to consider. It might be wise to take suppressive action, but how are people and firefighting equipment going to get to these fires?

Can't they drive to the fires?

Many remote areas of Oregon have little or no road access. And you have to consider how long it might take to drive to these areas even if road access is available? Also, in designated wilderness areas, mechanized vehicles are prohibited.

How about walking in to the fires?

Sure, but it could be many miles in, and it's often uphill! Time is passing, and the fires are growing rapidly. What size will they be by the time crews arrive? And what kind of shape will the firefighters be in after the long hike?

... Sounds like a mission for SMOKEJUMPERS!


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