Wildfire outlook: New wildfires and a dry spell coming


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – We are wrapping up the month of August and it has been a busy month for wildland firefighters.

It’s been a few active weeks with ongoing fires to battle as we start the month of September off with a dry spell. There are currently 11 large fires between Oregon and Washington, and Oregon is housing nine of them. According to the National Interagency Fire Center, there are currently over 83,500 acres being occupied by wildfires in Oregon and for Washington, just over 20,000.

A large portion of those acres is from the White River fire outside of Maupin. You can find the updates to the White River Fire update here. Below is an idea of the fire perimeter for the White River Fire and you can see how close it is to highways 216 and 26. This has generally been moving to the east because of the wind as it approaches the flatland. This wildfire started because of lightning and is currently at 10% containment, with the hopes to be contained by Sept. 5.

That is going to be a tough task but all the agencies have done such a magnificent job this summer keeping wildfires in check.

I want to show you the smoke forecast for this afternoon. The smoke will be more prevalent in these areas of central Oregon due to the local wildfires. At times it may even be a bit thick, which you can see from the forecast model below.

As of Aug. 31, according to the Oregon DEQ, the air quality around Sisters and Bend is a moderate level, but most other locations are in the green. Smoke will remain an issue for central Oregon through the week and at times some of that smoke my travel west into portions of the Willamette Valley as the wind shifts temporarily.

I want to key you in on a new fire in West Lane county called the Sweet Creek MP2 fire. These are photos from the fire early on Sunday afternoon before blossoming into a 400-acre fire by Monday morning. Details about the Sweet Creek fire can be found here. Unfortunately, it is dry across the whole state and the terrain in this area is difficult. Although this is closer to the ocean and the humidity is higher, this is still a difficult area to combat. Hopefully, the wind can stay settled in for some time so this fire can be harnessed quickly.

Finally, I do not have any thunderstorms in the forecast this week. Sometimes we pair the dry conditions with dry thunderstorms and this leads to new fires.

Although we are entering a dry spell, all the energy and action is likely to stay east. If there is a silver lining, that is it. Keep staying vigilant and before we know it, the rainy season will be here to help these firefighters out.

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