PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – This week will follow a very active wildfire week with 18 large fires now burning across Oregon and Washington.
The forecast concern last week was going to be all the lightning coming in with the storms and that proved to be a major issue with many new fires starting because of that lightning. This week should not be as active, but there is still a risk for thunderstorms to start the week. Will we have as much lightning? No, but it is dry enough and windy enough for just one or two strikes to instigate a few more issues. According to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), those large fires are burning 90,000 acres across the two states.
Here are some of the additional stats below. You can also find your forecast for locations like Madras and Baker City for the next four days as we move through the week. Oregon is pushing 75,000 acres when it comes to the large wildfires in the state. The largest of the group is the Indian Creek fire which is accounting for 49,139 acres according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC).
The threat for thunderstorms east of the Cascades should slow down through the week, but it will remain dry and breezy. Humidity levels bottoming out around 12% for some locations. The threat for lightning should lower after Tuesday.
One wildfire that is a little closer to Portland is the Green Ridge wildfire that is burning outside of Sisters. It is currently at 2% contained and is at 4,400+ acres. The photo below is from photographer Noah Wilksey, taken Aug. 18, coming from Camp Sherman, Oregon. This wildfire has been the cause of local smoke problems for that area around Sisters. The cause of this wildfire is from lightning.
The Storm Prediction Center also keeps the forecast busy around central and eastern Oregon on Tuesday. This is where the fire threat will be the highest and it is also where the wildfire smoke has been the heaviest.
The general wind aloft is moving from the southwest to the northeast and it is transporting smoke from California straight into locations of Oregon. That smoke is then traveling east and mixing with smoke from other wildfires across the Rockies. This may be the most widespread smoke that we’ve seen so far this summer. Read more about that here.
Compared to last week, the radar should be returning fewer storms. Not only that, the strength of the developing storms should be weaker. We had multiple severe thunderstorm warnings and even a severe thunderstorm watch last week. Weather models are just depicting a few potential cells building up by Tuesday afternoon. The stronger storms will likely build east of the Oregon Idaho state line.