Wildfires and the Dissemination of Information in Oregon

Bruce Wardlow, Alice Perez

Abstract


Wildfires have the reputation for being fast and unpredictable, government documents tend to be the opposite. So, what happens when the two meet? The 2020 Oregon wildfire season was one of the most destructive in the state’s history. We examined the 2020 Oregon wildfires and relief, specifically the Mount Hood fires and witnessed how the world of government publications responded. Wildfires are also very labor-intensive natural disasters to manage in a normal year, and 2020 was even worse. Due to labor constraints of the pandemic, the Oregon 2020 wildfire season was particularly bad. A wide array of federal government organizations quickly got involved, ranging from the IRS to the USDA, as well as state and local agencies. We also learned some specific senators and representatives were quick to respond, although the House and the Senate, as well as the president, were much slower to respond. This is the story of a collection of four distinct fires just outside of Portland, Oregon, that grew to become one large fire control effort, and the governmental responses to this natural disaster. The four wildfires in Oregon we will focus on are the Riverside Fire, Beachie Creek Fire, Lionshead Fire, and P515 Fire.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5860/dttp.v49i3/4.7691

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