BEND, OR -- While a number of wildfires continue to burn in Oregon, we have not seen the mega-fires agencies expected at the start of the season. Oregon’s Office of State Fire Marshal continues to shift crews into regions at high wildfire risk, Oregon's Department of Forestry is flying recon flights to watch for new starts after lightning storms.
ODF’s Christie Shaw says the proactive moves are possible because there are - so far - no large fires, "This year definitely didn’t play out as the fire season we all thought it was going to, in March, when we start making all our fire season plans and we start planning for people to come on. Back in March we were - low snowpack, hadn’t seen moisture in forever and there were dire concerns about what fire season was going to be like."
Those late rains pushed out the start of fire season, which Shaw says typically starts after Memorial Day, "In early June, we’re having team deployments and things like that. And we didn’t see that this year because we had all that moisture that kept coming through in May and June, where it was like cyclic rain. So then our concern - ‘oh, we’re going to have all these fuels out there, when fire season comes!’ And we do. But the thing that we haven’t seen play out is we haven’t had all those lightning storms come through." While multiple lightning storms have moved through in recent weeks, she says they’re much weaker than what we normally see this time of year.
We’re not out of the proverbial woods yet. Oregon’s fire season typically stretches into September.
Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Forestry