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Summer Is Almost Over, But There's Still Risk Of Wildfires In The Region

Milepost97 fire Facebook page
A firefighter mops up during the Milepost 97 fire in early August. near Canyonville, OR

Although Oregon and California have seen a less intense fire season than in recent years, forestry officials say there’s still a risk as summer turns into fall.  

In fact, weather forecasts call for a chance of thunderstorms in much of Southern Oregon and Northern California through the middle of this week.

As we move into September, the risk for wildfires in Oregon drops to normal levels, according to Blake Ellis, fire operations manager for the Oregon Department of Forestry.  

“Normal risk for September in western Oregon is still very high for us,” Ellis said. “That’s when we’re going to see our east winds come over the mountains, drop the relative humidities, live woody fuel moistures are going to plummet. So, that’s really when western Oregon is going to be at the height of their fire danger.” 

Parts of western Oregon are currently categorized as either abnormally dry or in a moderate drought.  

The majority of the state is projected to have slightly above average temperatures for the month, Ellis said.  

So far this year, there have been 12% fewer fires compared with last year, and almost 80% fewer total acres have burned.  

The largest fire in Oregon so far this year has been the Milepost 97 Fire near Canyonville, south of Roseburg. It burned more than 13,000 acres.