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Regional Interests

What is the ‘new normal’ when it comes to wildfire season?

Remains of the devastation from the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire are still evident in the small town of Gates, Feb. 26, 2021.
Remains of the devastation from the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire are still evident in the small town of Gates, Feb. 26, 2021.

The worst of this year’s wildfire season appears to be over, but it has been another tough year. The Bootleg Fire scorched 413,000 acres in Southern Oregon before it was contained and, at one point, it was the largest wildfire burning in the United States. This summer, cities in Southern and Central Oregon were socked in by wildfire smoke for weeks. Last year, Portland had the worst air quality in the world for a few days in September after the Labor Day fires. Is this the new normal? Chris Dunn is a research associate in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University. He joins us to talk about the future of wildfire.

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