Most people who have a connection to the woods are predicting a severe fire season this year. The early spring and lack of rain and snow could mean a lot of smoke in the valley this year.
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is well aware of the potential danger and has proposed throwing all the resources available at detection and fighting fires. The detection aspect is interesting. Most know that the forest service and BLM use Doppler radar to spot lightning strikes, which gives a general area for a possible fire. Wyden is proposing the use of drones, unmanned aircraft, to fly over the forests and spot fires. The use of drones could reduce the time involved in bringing resources to a blaze and reduce the possibility of large fires.
Budget cuts, at a time that extra resources might be needed have not been good news to forest managers. Forests at risk also mean communities at risk. And, at a time that county commissioners are lobbying to get control of forests to utilize wood products to improve their economy, a large portion of a possible future economy is also at stake.
Beyond the human factor, there are many forest creatures that depend on the forests for their lives. The controversial spotted owl may lose a great deal more habitat if fires are uncontrolled this year. Virtually everyone has something to lose in the battle this year.