Wildfire update: Gusty Tuesday conditions and a Red Flag Warning


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Sometimes in the month of August, we can experience some terrible conditions when it comes to fueling wildfires.

This week, although a bit dry and breezy, there will be minimal lightning and the wind won’t’ be out of control. However, there will be some moments that we need to discuss in the forecast, for those of you who plan to go camping or live in these hot spots.

For now, we do have some new fires, but they didn’t amount to much for Oregon. That wasn’t the case for Washington, with the new fires burning many more acres (2534 according to the NWCC). Notice that we still have six large fires, which hasn’t changed from last week. The overall preparedness level that is set for the next few days is down from last week from a three to a two.

Now moving into Tuesday, an upper level trough will move in from the northwest. This will bring in cooler temperatures and eventually, it will increase the humidity for locations in central and eastern Oregon come Wednesday.

This rush of cooler air will lead to gusty conditions on Tuesday for the Gorge and many east of the Cascades. Tuesday may be the toughest day on paper and will be the day that we have to be real careful outside.

The National Weather Service (NWS) has issued a Red Flag Warning for many on Tuesday. There is a clip of that provided by the NWS in Pendleton in the image below. This just means conditions are favorable for rapid fire spread due to wind and dry conditions.

Now although the wind increases even a little more on Wednesday, the moisture in the air will increase which is better for the fuels. From that point on we do dry out a bit but the wind is reasonable Thursday and Friday.

Last week, wildland firefighters were battling the Fir Mountain Fire which grew quickly over the span of 48 hours to around 313 acres. This started on Aug. 1 and is now just about contained as of Aug. 10. The last update had stated that the fire was 80% contained and hope to have everything fully contained by Wednesday.

Below is a photo of the smoke coming from that fire just southeast of Hood River last week.

The Fir Mountain Fire about 8 miles southeast of Hood River began August 1, 2020 (ODF)

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