2018 wildfire potential

Fires burning in Oregon as of July 2, 2018 (image: InciWeb)

BOISE, Id. – As temperatures continue to increase during summer months, so do the fire danger levels across southern Oregon and northern California.

This trend is not unfamiliar to the Pacific Northwest. According to the Oregon Forest Resources Institute, both small and significant fires raged across Oregon in summer 2017, burning 665,000 acres of forests and rangeland. More than 7,000 people were evacuated due to fire danger and there were huge impacts to air quality and health, school athletics, travel, tourism, employment, and two of Oregon’s iconic economic sectors: the wine and timber industries.

The National Interagency Fire Center’s Predictive Services unit released the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook report on July 1, 2018. The report covered an outlook period of July, August, September and October 2018.

NIFC Predictive Services said that abnormally dry conditions along the West Coast allowed for an expansion of drought into western Oregon and Washington in June. Fire activity is expected to increase across Oregon and Washington by late July, with August being the peak of Western fire season.

“Overall warmer than average conditions are expected to develop along the West Coast and spread inland during August and possibly September,” the NIFC said. Above normal significant wildfire potential is expected across the region until September, with the exception of northwestern Washington in July and southeastern Oregon in September. Normal significant wildland fire potential is expected in October throughout the region.

The outlook states that Oregon will likely experience another hot and dry summer. Thousands of lightning strikes have already triggered several large fires in Oregon, resulting in at least two Incident Management Team deployments.

As of July 2, 2018, 115,883 acres in Oregon have burned due to both human and lightning-caused fires.

Wildfire danger is high this 4th of July, especially throughout the drought-stricken West. Each year, wildfires sparked by fireworks cause serious injuries and property loss. The NIFC encourages the public to follow fireworks laws to promote safety and avoid fines.

The next issuance of the National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook will be released on August 1, 2018. For questions or additional information, please contact the NIFC at (208) 387-5050 or contact your local Geographic Area Predictive Services unit.

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