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A few weeks ago, folks in North Portland got a taste of what Oregonians east of the Cascades already know; no rain, plus dry vegetation equals fire. No houses were destroyed in the blaze in North Portland, but several homes across the state have burned in one of the worst wild fire seasons in history.

Already, some 2,200 fires have ignited in Oregon, burning up more than 450,000 acres of land, trees, and vegetation. Two weeks ago in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, governors of the Pacific Northwest states and the Bush administration met and agreed to a long-term national plan aimed at preventing and suppressing wildfires by starting an effort to remove brush, dead trees and debris that can fuel flames.

The Sentinel wonders how much of a difference this effort will actually make. The lack of snowpack, the low river levels, the drought conditions, on top of the mismanagement of forests are all factors in the fires now burning throughout the Pacific Northwest. People who frequent the forest need to learn respect for its conditions and its grandeur. Perhaps fire prevention education is the missing ingredient. Perhaps a rethinking of the ways in which we use our forest should be a focus. Regardless, the fires continue to burn and thousands of firefighters are busy extinguishing them.

Rain is forecast for later in the week, a welcome sight for the troops battling the blazes.

Keep in your thoughts and prayers the lives of these brave men and women fighting to stop the state from going up in flames.