Reconsider outdoor travel in the West as wildfires burn


Allison Keeney, spokesperson for Travel Oregon, the state’s tourism commission, said that “Wildfires in one location often have no impact outside of a limited area and rarely cause major disturbance to land. trips. This is the case with the fires that are currently occurring, which are located in remote wild areas. She added that the state has tools in place that visitors can use to track air quality before or during their stay.

In Washington, the scenic Walla Walla Valley “has experienced very little, if any, tourism impact from fire-related smoke,” said Justin Yax, spokesperson for the region’s tourism office.

“On the contrary, the Walla Walla Valley has seen an increase in the number of visits in recent years, as other popular wine regions faced the effects of forest fires and smoke,” he said, referring to the Californian counties of Sonoma, Napa and Santa Barbara, which years were badly affected by the fire.

But in the Methow Valley, which is also a tourism-dependent region, two nearby fires have prompted evacuations in several towns. The mayor of Winthrop, Washington, called the fires “an end-of-season tourism event” at a community meeting in July.

After Sun Mountain Lodge evacuated its current guests, the resort called people with upcoming reservations to encourage them to book for later in the year and removed online availability until August 31. The complex is temporarily closed.

In Montana, Maria Caputo, director of Lamplighter Cabin & Suites in the state capital Helena, said many guests have called to cancel their reservations this month because of the smoke.

“We are honest with them,” Ms. Caputo said. “I don’t want people to come here and have unhealthy situations for their breathing or anything.”

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