It’s Not Like Last Year, Yet. But There’s Still Plenty Of Time.

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"Wildfires"
"Wildfires" | Image by chumstickcoalition.org

It started in June last year and was one of the worst ever. What am I talking about? The wildfire season in Oregon.  After a very dry spring last year the wildfire season got a big start and went on to be one of the worst in Oregon’s history. This year is quite different, so far. I don’t like saying that out loud because I don’t want to jinx it.

Oregon Wildfires 7.12.19 | Image by NWCC

A check of the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) Large Fire map on Friday 7/12/19 showed only one large wildfire in the state of Oregon. Here are the details.

The Blue Ridge fire: Located 25 miles southwest of John Day, Oregon. The number of acres involved is 667. The fuel/terrain is timber.  It started on 7/03/19 and the cause is listed as lightning/natural. Residences threatened: 0 single residences, Other structures threatened: 0 nonresidential commercial property. Resources being used: 49 people, 1 crew, 0 helicopters, and 6 engines (updated Saturday 7/13/19). The fire is 99% contained (also updated Saturday 7/13/19). Status: Minimal fire activity with creeping and smoldering fire behavior. Crews continue mop-up operations.

 

Oregon Wildfires 6.28.19
Oregon Wildfires 6.28.18 | Image by NWCC

Last year at the end of June there were already two substantial large wildfires already burning in Oregon and one up north in Washington. Here are the details.

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

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.

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

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.

This might give you the idea that we might have a less intense fire season this year, but that would be a mistaken thought. There is a lot of summer left and, as you know, the hottest and driest time of the year remains ahead of us.

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

The authorities give specific information about what is called a “Defensible Space” around your property. It consists of clearing flammable materials away from your home.

Defensible Space Diagram | Image by lavernefire.org

The zones are set up in such a way to better protect your home from burning embers of a nearby fire that could follow vegetation or other flammable materials straight to your house.

In addition to these measures everyone should have a evacuation plan should your house catch on fire. Practice how you would escape if different escape routes might be blocked. Also, you should have a place outside away from the house where all of your family members can meet to make sure everyone is safely out of the house.

Let me know what you would like me to talk about or explain. You can comment below or email me at: [email protected].

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