Wildfire update: Lightning threat this week and breezy moments


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Summer months are primed for wildfires. Just within a week, we have seen some large fires develop in Washington and Oregon that weren’t around during the last wildfire outlook seven days ago.

Not only have new wildfires flare up, but we’ve also seen hours of work towards containment of those wildfires. Kudos and appreciation to those that are working on these wildfires and putting the work into helping all of us out.

This is why the KOIN 6 Weather team finds it important to keep up on this update every week. We want to make sure we also provide a forecast so you are aware and can make necessary plans.

I want to add that the new fires section of the graphic changes daily. Starting next week, we will add a weekly new fire and acres section to better accommodate and display more information.

With that said, the major new fire in Oregon was the Rosland Road Fire in Deschutes county (60% contained). This wildfire is outside of La Pine and was human-caused, which is why the acres for Oregon is higher than that of Washington. However, Washington also had to battle a large wildfire over the last five days. This wildfire is called the Bertschi Road Fire, which is located in Klickitat County (75% contained). Both fires you could see from the visible satellite as the smoke plume soared into the sky.

Below is a photo of the Rosland Road Fire, provided by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center on July 20. Notice areas of impact on one side versus that of the other. According to the NWCC, the left side of the Rosland Fire was untreated, right side was treated. That shows you how treating an area can really help when it comes to wildfires.

Rosland Road Fire – Courtesy: NWCC

I want to briefly discuss the threat of lightning this week. We didn’t have much last week, but there will be some locations in Oregon that will likely see lightning. I believe it will mostly stay contained to areas of southern Oregon and potentially trying to reach up to locations surrounding Baker City. There may be a few strikes around Deschutes County too. Wednesday evening seems to be the busiest of the days this week.

Gusty conditions are possible too, especially for areas of the eastern Gorge. This will be for areas of The Dalles and streaming north into those locations of Washington that follow the path of the river. With this, a Fire Weather Watch is in place for those locations in central and southern Oregon.

Conditions are more favorable for wildfires for central and eastern Oregon. For those of us that are west of the Cascades, we still need to be on alert. Do your best to be weary of any sort of situation that may involve fires. This is a look at the air quality as of Tuesday. There has been minor amounts of wildfire smoke in the air the last week. There may be an impact because of the smoke to the south today or tomorrow, but the AQI hasn’t reflected that yet.

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