PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Oregon and Washington’s wildfires season has been relatively calm compared to prior years. Hotter temperatures Thursday and Friday along with easterly winds could move current wildfires in a new direction.
Occasional rain showers and a nice onshore flow has helped aid western Oregon and Washington from seeing any massive wildfire outbreaks this year. The wildfire threat now starts to increase once again as the number of days without rainfall grows to 10.
Drought conditions seen across the Pacific Northwest adds fuel to the potential flames as once wet vegetation quickly dries.
The biggest impacts felt in Portland and along the Willamette Valley will be the heat and wind direction change. The Camp Creek Fire burning just west of Mt. Hood continues to produce smoke. It’s only at 44% containment as of Tuesday, September 12, 2023. Hotter temperatures and a wind direction change out of the east, northeast could potential overcome current containment lines. That could cause the fire to rapidly grow. If that were to happen, wildfire smoke will end up in Portland and across western Oregon and Washington.
Weather models are unable to pick up on the potential for widespread smoke from the Camp Creek fire because rapid growth of the fire is unpredictable. The hope is, fire crews have prepared for a sudden wind shift and that winds will not rapidly push current wildfire flames out of containment.
Thankfully, this latest stent of late summer heat doesn’t last. Onshore winds are expected to ramp up again this weekend. That will help keep relative humidity valleys higher and temperatures cooler.