The fires kicked off the worst of southern Oregon and northern California’s 2018 fire season.”It was a challenging day for everyone,” said Oregon Department of Forestry Public Information Officer Natalie Weber. “We were kind of sent all over the place.”
Fire crews hunted down the hundreds of fires sparked by lightning. The Oregon Department of Forestry Southwest Oregon District said at one point they were tracking 56 fires with their detection system, they said the technology behind it was a big asset.
“It was very helpful to have eyes on all of those fires,” Weber said, “to be able to prioritize where we’re gonna send crews.” The storms ignited the Klondike, Taylor Creek, Miles and Garner Complex fires.
“It was just…devastating,” said Jackson County Commissioner Bob Strosser, “with the fires that it caused, the resources we didn’t have to deal with it.”
While the flames scorched hundreds of thousands of acres, Strosser’s biggest concern is the smoke that choked the community for months. “Because of the PM2.5 particles, the very very small particles that are ingested get into your lungs, respiratory system,” he said.
Strosser said there was little progress made in the 2019 legislative session to address resources and funding. Being halfway through July—he hopes that doesn’t come back to hurt us.
“We’re keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that we make it through fire season,” Strosser said.
ODF said while they’re geared up for anything, they’ve had a relatively quiet season so far. This year there have been 74 fires on ODF protected land in Jackson and Josephine Counties. The total amount of acres burned in those is under 17.
Nicole Costantino is a reporter and weather forecaster for NBC5 News. She comes to us from Phoenix, Arizona where she graduated from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She also received a minor in Meteorology.
Before coming to NBC5 News Nicole was an anchor, weathercaster and reporter at KAET in Phoenix, AZ. In college, she interned for CBS Evening News in New York City and the NBC4 Investigative Team in Los Angeles.
In her free time, you can find Nicole cheering on her Sun Devils and exploring the Pacific Northwest. Feel free to send story ideas and chocolate chip cookie recipes to her on Facebook (@NicoleCostantino) or Twitter (@NicCostantino).