PORTLAND -- Surrounded by walls of maps and computers, employees at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in downtown Portland certainly have their hands full.
Dozens of wildfires, including the largest in Washington state history, are still burning in Oregon and Washington. The Carlton Complex fire has already destroyed more than 300 homes and 400 square miles of land.
The Buzzard Complexwildfire, in eastern Oregon, is the largest in the country.
Top fire and forestry officials say that these mega fires are a prime example of what has quickly become the new normal.
Folks are telling me we can't use historic fire behavior anymore to predict future fire behaviors, everything's changed, said Jerry Perez the Director of the Bureau of Land Management for Oregon and Washington.
Perez is one of many wildfire agency leaders who briefed Senator Ron Wyden on what's quickly becoming a historically bad fire season.
Data at the briefing showed wildfires are burning hotter and fire seasons are now 70 days longer than they were just 15 years ago.
KGWMeteorologist Rod Hill confirmed that the fire season starts early in eastern Oregon and a late start to the fall rains makes matters worse.
An earlier mountain snowpack melt, due to climate change, is making forest lands ripe to be burned weeks earlier than just two or three decades ago, said KGWmeteorologist Rod Hill. Large fires burning in late July or August can burn until fall October or November rains completely extinguish the blaze.
We had fire evacuations on the north Oregon coast in January this year, that used to be unheard of, said Jeff Walter, the Director of the National Forest Service for Washington and Oregon. We're also seeing different plants and trees in the forest as the landscape gets drier.
Top wildfire officials hope Senator Ron Wyden can pass legislation reforming the way agencies are funded to battle fires.
Right now, budgets are based on average costs over 10 years, but they've underestimated costs eight out of the past 10 years.
Agencies are being forced to take money out of fire prevention funds, which are supposed to be used to thin trees and clear brush.
You've got the prevention fund constantly being shorted and then you guys can't do your thinning work in the woods and then massive fires pop up from all the extra fuel, said Sen. Wyden.
Under the Senator's new bill, which is co-sponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, the massive mega fires would instead be funded out of the natural disaster budget.
A bill like what the senator is working on allows us to keep that money doing these thinning and clearing projects and also put out the fires, said Walter.
Wyden is also pushing the senate to approve an additional $615 million just to pay for what's already been a fire year for the record books.
Unfortunately, this wicked Northwest fire season isn't even close to cooling down.
Interactive: Wildfire tracker