PORTLAND, Ore. — The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) tweeted out a graphic that shows the difference in wildfire statistics between July 31, 2020, and July 31, 2021.
The graphic showed that in 2021, there were nearly 60 times as many acres burned year to date as there were at the same time last year, in double the number of fires.
This year, more than 513,000 acres have burned as of July 31. Last year at the same time, less than 8,300 acres had burned.
Many in the Portland metro and beyond remember the hazy skies of the 2020 wildfire season. We have not suffered as much this year from the Bootleg Fire, the 413,000-acre fire that accounts for most of the big spike.
The wind is pushing the smoke from the Bootleg Fire, the nation's biggest fire, across the country, and it is being seen and felt as far away as the East Coast.
According to NWCC, on July 31, 2020, there had been 12 large fires in Oregon, burning a total of 8,231 acres, and 11 large fires in Washington, which burned 31,792 acres for a grand total of 40,023 acres from 23 fires.
On July 31, 2021, there had been 24 large fires in Oregon that burned 503,913 acres and 25 large fires in Washington, which have burned 316,216 acres for a total of 820,129 acres burned and 50 fires.
This data shows that the 2021 fire season has outpaced the 2020 season significantly so far.
The 2020 season burned more than 1.1 million acres across the state. It is unclear whether 2021 will see more damage than that. The largest fire that burned in Oregon during the 2020 season was the Beachie Creek Fire, which did not begin until August.
Officials announced on Sunday, Aug. 1, that the Bootleg Fire was 74% contained. But according to an article from NPR, the Bootleg and other fires on the West Coast could burn into fall due to dry conditions.