Weather makes firefighters work harder
August 20, 2006
By AMY MARTINEZ STARKE
Dry fuel – Eight blazes in Oregon and Washington continue to burn, and lightning may bring more.
Hot, dry weather and thunderstorms predicted for the next few days will challenge firefighters battling four fires in Oregon and four in Washington.
Temperatures around 90 degrees will not set a record, said Chris Collins, a National
Weather Service forecaster. “But the real issue is the relative humidity in the 20 to 30 percent range. The fuel out there is so dry.”
Thunderstorms are expected to sweep into the Cascades on Monday, raising the threat of more lightning-caused blazes. Temperatures will cool a little Tuesday or Wednesday, then warm up again by the end of the week, Collins said.
Four large fires are burning in Oregon. The Mount Hood complex (Bluegrass) at 1,180 acres was 30 percent contained Saturday. The 682-acre Blister fire, southeast of Molalla, was about 20 percent contained.
The 5,027-acre Lake George fire, 13 miles west of Sisters, was 25 percent contained Saturday. And a 165-acre wildland fire in Crater Lake National Park was nearly under control.
In Washington, the Tripod and Spur Peak fires together had burned about 161 square miles between Winthrop and Conconully. They were 30 percent contained Saturday.
Elsewhere, the Flick Creek fire on the east shore of Lake Chelan was 50 percent contained. The fire, which has blackened 4,401 acres, was caused by a campfire.
The 4,682-acre Tinpan fire along the Entiat River trail in Glacier Peak Wilderness was being managed as a wildland use fire, allowed to burn naturally.
Many fire-related closures were in effect across Oregon and Washington. Travelers planning to go to Eastern Oregon, Mount Hood, the Olympic Peninsula or the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, check with a district office to find out where the closures are, said John Townsley, a spokesman for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.
“It’s been a long fire season,” he said, “and the summer still has a long way to go.”
Amy Martinez Starke: 503-221-8534; email@example.com