The tops of trees engulfed in flames
Fire officials predict this year's wildfire season will be worse than the historic fires in 2020. Justin Sullivan / Getty

Governor Kate Brown declared a state of emergency Tuesday due to the threat of wildfires throughout Oregon.

The state of emergency order allows the Oregon Department of Forestry, state fire marshal, and the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to utilize equipment and personnel from other state agencies in order to respond to wildfire threats. The order also temporarily removes restrictions on state agencies that would impair their abilities to respond to wildfire threats, like resource and funding restrictions.

“With fire seasons increasingly starting earlier and lasting longer, it is up to each of us to do our part to prevent wildfires and be prepared for the ones we can’t prevent,” Brown said in a press release Wednesday morning. “I am urging Oregonians to take charge in preventing human-caused fires by being prepared, safe, responsible, and aware."

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Brown stopped short of explicitly asking Oregonians to forgo fireworks this year. Portland Fire & Rescue, along with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty who oversees the fire bureau, issued a ban on fireworks June 29, but the agency doesn’t have the authority to enforce the ban. Fire Chief Sara Boone said the agency will be "investigating any fire that have a connection to fireworks," but the sale of fireworks is still allowed and there will be no fire officials patrolling or seeking out people using fireworks.

The recent record-breaking temperatures, as well as high winds and lack of rain, means that much of the state is in high or extreme fire danger. Only halfway through 2021, Oregon has already seen double the number of fires it typically sees in a year and fire officials predict this wildfire season will be worse than the historic spate of fires in 2020.

The state of emergency will remain in place until November 1, 2021, or whenever the threat of fire season ends, as determined by Brown.