Forecasting for fires

, Posted: Wed, August 6 2014 at 5:50 PM, Updated: Wed, August 6 2014 at 6:25 PM

Howard Prairie, Ore -- In their efforts to contain the blaze, crews are calling in reinforcements to better understand what effects weather can have on a fire.

    The behavior of a wildfire can change in an instant, and often weather is the driving force. That's why crews working the Beaver Complex called in a professional to help predict the future of the fire.

"Our first priority is for Firefighter safety, to protect them out there and then it's just to give them the best weather information that we possibly can," said Ryan Leach.

    Incident meteorologist Ryan Leach spent his first full day on the 36,000 acre Oregon Gulch Fire Wednesday.

"What we're looking at is where the fire's been and where it might go and how that's related to the terrain," said Leach.

   Leach, who was brought in by the National Weather Service from Montana, uses weather models and systems as well as expertise he learned in the Air Force to predict what the fire will do next.      

  "Especially down here on the Klamath River and this canyon area, because there's some very interesting things with the winds there that can help the fire spread," said Leach.

  Getting firefighters the crucial information they need face to face as soon as possible could make all the difference in bringing fire crews home safe.

  Leach says he is keeping an eye on possible storms later in the week and says crews have done a good job containing the most weather vulnerable areas of the fire.

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