Your Connection To Jazz, Blues and NPR News
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Environment

July Means Warm Summer Nights And Big Fire Potential In The Northwest

071118AK_JulyFire_2.jpg
Courtesy of Oregon Department of Forestry
Firefighters work the Graham Fire in central Oregon, which occurred earlier this month.

From Bend, Oregon, to Ellensburg, Washington, there is a fire weather watch Friday for hot temperatures, low humidity and breezy weather.

If you think there’s already been a lot of wildfires in the Northwest this year, you’re right. 

Already this year, Washington has seen more than 500 wildfires and Oregon nearly 400 on their state-protected lands. For both states, that’s high for the first half of the year.

That’s 104 more fires on Oregon’s state-protected lands so far, than compared to the 10-year average. 

And that means it’s the second worst year in a decade in terms of wildfire starts. And 2018 is already the third worst year for acres burned in Oregon to date since 2008.

Aaron Schmidt with the Washington Department of Natural Resources says three things happen in July that could make more frequent fires start go big. There’s less humidity at night, not as much rain, and fuels become more cured.

"The large fire potential increases," Schmidt said. "That does cause me to worry, or at least a heightened sense of concern.”

Both Washington and Oregon position resources across the state for quick reactions to hopefully stay ahead of the fires. But sometimes, Schmidt says, there are just too many different fires burning, and the conditions are too tough to keep the fires all small and put out.

Related Content