State survey to gauge wildfires' tourism impacts

Travel Oregon's deadline extended to Friday

Survey aims to look at wildfire impacts

BEND, Ore. - Travel Oregon is surveying businesses across the state to get a feel for the impacts that wildfire season had last summer, and they now have a bit longer to weigh in.

The idea behind the survey is to get a good snapshot of businesses across the state that were effected by the fire season last summer.

Here in Central Oregon, businesses in places like Sisters felt the economic impact when smoky skies prompted a sharp downturn in tourism.

Linea Gagliano, director of global communication for Travel Oregon, said Monday this is the first time they have done a survey like this, and they hope it will not only give them a good idea of how the state economy was affected but also a way to plan for future severe wildfire seasons.

"We wanted to get our arms around what were the impacts that our businesses suffered through that year," Gagliano said. "And we know that it was not just those places that were directly in a fire path, but the entire state was covered in smoke."

Gagliano said the idea is not to just give Travel Oregon and businesses an idea of the impact of last year's fire season, but also  provide a better understanding of how to deal with an intense fire season moving forward.

"And it's also something they can bring forward to policymakers, when we talk about wildfire prevention and what we can do to make sure this doesn't happen, to show what kind of impacts come when wildfires hit the state," Gagliano said.

The deadline for the survey has been extended to Friday for businesses to participate in the survey.

So far, Gagliano said, about 300 people have responded to the survey, and they hope to reach about 500 by the end of the week.

She added that they hope to have all of the data together and release their findings around the end of April.

If you would like to take the survey, click here.

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