BEND, OR -- Temperatures are cooling, but fire season isn’t done with us yet, as dry conditions linger on. Lauren Durocher, with the Deschutes National Forest, says smoke that settled over Bend in the last 24 hours is likely drifting in from the south of us, "Fire activity has slightly picked up on some of the larger fire incidents that are happening around Oregon and northern California. So, most of what we’re seeing is likely from those fires."
We’re in for a slight shift in the weather pattern this weekend, but she says it won’t be enough to end the fire danger, "There’s some forecast of some slight precipitation and potential thunderstorms Saturday and possibly Sunday, so be watching that. But, after that, I think there’s a continued trend of some more warm and dry weather."
Deer rifle hunting season starts this weekend and Durocher urges everyone to be careful, "Public use restrictions, including those campfire restrictions, are still in place across the forest. So, that means there are no campfires allowed, other than in some particular designated campgrounds. Be prepared, as you head out for hunting season. Propane stoves are an option; pack more blankets, to make sure you’re warm enough at night and in the morning."
The 2018 fire season ranks as one of Oregon's worst. "We're on track to exceed our 10-year average, which is right around 947 fires," says Russ Lane, Deputy Chief of Operations for the Oregon Department of Forestry. This year, 904 fires burned more than 800,000 acres. Two-thirds of those fires were human caused, which Lane says is about average. In southwest Oregon, the Miles and Klondike fires are not yet contained.
Fighting Oregon's fires cost more than $100 million, most of which will be paid by the federal government. The state will shell out about $42 million.
Photo: A wildfire sparked by illegal fireworks scorched 10 acres of Bend's Pilot Butte, July 4, 2018.