Drought fueling potential for above-average central Oregon fire season

  • Source: KTVZ NBC/CW+ 21 Bend
  • Published: 04/29/2021 12:00 AM

After last year’s devastating wildfires, Oregon officials are again bracing for an above-average fire season. John Saltenberger, fire program weather manager for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland, said the conditions are ripe for a rough, fiery summer. "We're going into fire season, '20-21 already in a drought debt for Central Oregon that shows every sign of worsening as we get into late spring and summer," he told NewsChannel 21 on Wednesday. And that's not good, after a record 2020 fire season. "High fire danger early in the season means we can get a longer season," Saltenberger said. Already this season, Central Oregon has seen a 200-acre fire near Bend, with the Bull Springs fire. And there was a 1,600-acre blaze last week in Klamath County. "For Central Oregon, I'm looking at fine dead fuel moisture values which are running at just above 10 percent right now, " Salenberger said. That's a number typically seen around the height of fire season, he said.


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