Wyden discusses fire danger with C.O. officials

Human-caused fires vastly outnumber ligntning

Senator Wyden meets with fire officials

REDMOND, Ore. - (Update: More comments from Wyden, fire official)

Senator Ron Wyden has been traveling around Oregon to meet with officials and learn more about wildfire conditions across the sate.

As the senator was told at a wildfire briefing in Redmond on Thursday, Central Oregon is facing a lot of the same problems that other areas of the state are encountering.

Central Oregon Interagency Dispatch Center officials told Wyden they have responded to 41 lightning-caused fires and 125 human-caused fires so far this season.

The large number of human-caused fires is what is concerning for Alex Robertson, a fire and aviation staff officer Central Oregon Fire Management Service.

“We can’t afford to have human-caused fires, on top of the lightning that we got yesterday and we expect to get for the next couple days," Robertson said. "Those are going to keep us plenty busy, and so general public, campers, anybody out in the woods or the desert needs to be very very careful with fire.”

Robertson also said officials want to make sure there are enough resources to go around to effectively fight fires.

“As soon as we get a large fire that we are unable to control at initial attack, those are the fires that take a lot of resources for a long period of time, a long duration," Robertson said. "Those are the ones that we may not be able to staff a number of those all at the same time.”

Wyden said his goal is to be able to provide funding so that there are enough resources to fight fires across the region.

“So it’s mostly about giving them the tools that they need to exercise the kind of professionalism we’ve seen from these officials over the years," Wyden said.

The federal funding that is provided by the government is needed because of the large number of fires burning across the nation.

Officials say that by staying fire safe, people can help to make sure that enough resources are available.

Wyden also held a town hall later Thursday in Warm Springs, and Mike Allen will report on that on NewsChannel 21 First at Ten on Fox.

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