Pilots scouting for wildfires after thunderstorms in SW Oregon

MEDFORD, Ore. – After a thunderstorm passed over the Rogue Valley early Wednesday morning, pilots are in the air looking for wildfires.

According to the Oregon Department of Forestry, detection specialists are using lightning strike maps to give them hints as to where to scan for fires using ODF’s camera system.

There will also be reconnaissance flights that will fly over areas struck by lightning. The flights will help guide ground crews to any hot spots or reports of smoke in the area.

As of 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, ODF responded to seven reports of small fires. the majority are estimated to be 1/100th to a quarter of an acre. ODF said all of these fires are staffed with both air and ground resources and forward progression has been stopped.

The National Weather Service said most of southwest Oregon remains under a Red Flag Warning, meaning high temperatures, gusty winds, and dry conditions will persist until Wednesday night.

Now is a good time to have a fire kit ready, the NWS said. People are advised to gather essential items they don’t want to lose and prioritize checklists.

View the hazard area in detail at https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr.

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