MEDFORD, Ore.– The Rogue Valley finally received some relief from the hot, dry summer that has brought nothing but smoke and fire. With the first major rainfall of the season, it may seem like southern Oregon’s fire troubles are finally washing away.
But the valley is not in the clear yet.
It may be a welcome sight but there are some worries that still come with a potential rainfall.
“Overnight we did have one report of smoke however our crews went out and didn’t find anything out there,” said Natalie Weber, Oregon Department of Forestry. “They were unable to locate any fire, any smoke, anything.”
While the initial report from ODF is welcoming after a summer of wildfires caused by lightning – that doesn’t mean there isn’t potential for there to be smoke.
“We have crews up in a helicopter,” said Weber. “They’re just going over the area where they did have strikes and just seeing if they can see any smoke, any fire, anything we should put crews on the ground for to take care of.”
ODF says they will continue patrolling for the next couple days but because this rainfall dumped a good amount with the lightning strikes, it may have helped to prevent more fires.
“We really did need this rain,” said Weber. “It was really good timing especially with the storm because I think that’s part of why we’re not seeing so many reported fires because we did have that rain.”
Now clearer skies and cleaner air are back, however, ODF wants to stress that fire season isn’t over. ODF’s Southwest District did lower the Industrial Fire Precaution Level to II allowing for industries to use specified equipment during peak heat hours of the day but for the public the Fire Danger Level remains at “high.”
“Cause we did have the rain, a lot of people might think it’s OK to start burning – it’s not,” said Weber. “Burning is still prohibited through the end of fire season and sometimes even after that depending on the conditions that we’re seeing.”
NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.
Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.