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Wildfire

Ready Or Not It Has Started And Will Continue.

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When I started my research for this article on Wednesday June 27th there were three. That’s three too many by anyone’s standards. We’ve seen them before and last year was a particularly bad season for them. I’m talking about wildfires.

Oregon Wildfires 6.26.18
Oregon Wildfires As Of Wednesday 6.26.18 Image by NWCC

We are way behind normal for rainfall. If we take a look at the statistics for Eugene. As of Sunday July 1st the precipitation total for Eugene measured at the Mahlon Sweet Airport is 30.77 inches for the rain year that runs from October 1st through September 30th. That is 12.87 inches below normal so far. For the calendar year that began January 1st the total so far is 16.76 inches which is 8.08 inches below normal so far. That is very dry and much of the state of Oregon is experiencing similar conditions. The lack of moisture combined with the potential of lightning caused, and sadly human caused, wildfires is increased.

There aren’t as many wildfires in this second update as there were in the update from June 27th, but those still burning have causing considerable damage.

Oregon Wildfires 6.28.19
Oregon Wildfires 6.28.18 | Image by NWCC

The Boxcar fire: Located 1 miles east of Maupin, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 100,207. The fuel/terrain is grass.  It started on 6/21/18 and the cause is listed as lightning/natural. Residences threatened: 50 single residences, Other structures threatened: 5 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: 320 people, 7 crews, 0 helicopters, and 21 engines. The fire is 86% contained.

Boxcar Wildfire
Boxcar Wildfire Central Oregon 6.23.18 | Photo by OPB.org

The Jack Knife fire: Located 11 miles southeast of Grass Valley, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 15,676. The fuel/terrain is grass, brush, timber.  It started on 6/22/18 and the cause is listed as lightning/natural. Residences threatened: 10 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0. Resources being used: 104 people, 3 crews, 0 helicopters, and 10 engines. The fire is 90% contained.

Jack Knife Wildfire
JackKnife Wildfire 6.29.18 | Photo by Central Oregon Fire Info through blogger

It looks like the two fires are well on their way to being 100% contained, but you have to remember that it doesn’t mean that the fires are out only that they aren’t spreading.

What kind of a summer can we look forward to you might ask. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a Climate Prediction Center (NCEP) which prepares and publishes various outlooks for temperature and precipitation.

The 90-day Temperature Outlook, according to their computer models, shows that we have a 60-70 percent probability of above average temperatures through the months of July, August, and September.

90-Day Temperature Outlook
90-Day Temperature Outlook | Image by cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

The NCEP 90-day Precipitation outlook for July, August, and September shows a 40 percent chance of a dryer than normal period for July, August, and September in Western Oregon.

90-Day Precipitation Outlook
90-Day Precipitation Outlook | Image by cpc.ncep.noaa.gov

When you add those two outlooks together they might just spell  “wildfires.” We can hope that the public will be careful with any burning materials, but we have absolutely no control over wildfires that are started by lightning strikes.

What can you do to help prevent wildfires? The National Weather Service has the following guidelines to help us out.

Wildfire Safety
Wildfire Safety Tips | Image by weather.gov through Port Jeffers Village

Let’s take another look at the NWCC Wildfire map. As of Saturday 6.30.18 There was one fire listed in Oregon and that is the Boxcar fire.

6.30.18 Wildfire Map
NWCC Wildfire map 6.30.18 | Image by NWCC

The Boxcar fire: Located 1 miles east of Maupin, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 100,207. The fuel/terrain is grass.  It started on 6/21/18 and the cause is listed as lightning/natural. Residences threatened: 50 single residences, Other structures threatened: 5 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: 320 people, 7 crews, 0 helicopters, and 21 engines. The fire is 90% contained.

The only notable difference from the previous update is that the fire is 90% contained instead of 86% contained on 6.28.18 which actually in a significant improvement.

Wildfires 7.1.18
NWCC Wildfires 7.1.18 | Image by NWCC

Now we’ll take one last look at the Oregon Wildfire situation before this column is published. Above is the updated map for Sunday 7.1.18.

The Boxcar fire: Located 1 miles east of Maupin, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 100,207. The fuel/terrain is grass.  It started on 6/21/18 and the cause is listed as lightning/natural. Residences threatened: 50 single residences, Other structures threatened: 5 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: 320 people, 7 crews, 0 helicopters, and 21 engines. The fire is 90% contained. That shows no change since the previous report.

The Lime Hill 2 fire: Located in Lime Hill, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 361. The fuel/terrain is grass, brush.  It started on 6/30/18 and the cause is listed as human caused. Residences threatened: 0, Other structures threatened: 0. Resources being used: 0 people, 0 crews, 0 helicopters, and 0 engines. The fire is 5% contained. This fire may be relatively small, but it just started one day ago.

The fires listed are only the large fires occurring at this time in Oregon. We all have to be careful with any kind of burning materials with conditions this dry. We can’t prevent the lightning caused fires, but we can make sure that we are not the ones starting the human caused fires. As Smokey Bear says now “Only you can prevent wildfires.”

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: tim.chuey@eugenedailynews.com.

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