Worse than usual fire season expected

State foresters predict a slightly worse than average wildfire season in Oregon this year.

Oregon Department of Forestry fire managers say they expect summer to be a little drier than normal with a statewide forecast for below-average rainfall from June through August.

A major concern is dry lightning, which could set off some wildfires.

Fire season starts Monday in Klamath County. Historically, Jackson County's fire season begins about a week after Klamath County's.

The state firefighting force will include the standard complement of fire engines, hand crews, heavy air tankers and helicopters.

The hand crews called in to build fire lines around a blaze and mop up afterward will include 10-person inmate crews recruited from state prisons and 20-person private contract crews.

Officials say about two-thirds of the wildfires in Oregon each year are started by people. The top cause is letting debris or waste burning get out of control.

— Wire and staff reports

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