Throughout Oregon, firefighters have been active during the past 24 hours. From Tuesday afternoon into Wednesday, there were an astounding 5,473 lightning strikes in the state, and in a rare show, they even reached the Coast Range near Newport.
According to the Northwest Coordination Center, the storms started 124 new wildfires, although almost all of them remained small because the storms also brought a good amount of rain.
With 64 new wildfire starts, Central Oregon was severely hit. The largest new fire so far documented was the 57-acre Doghouse Gulch Fire. The fire swiftly spread since it was close to the South Fork of the John Day River drainage.
According to Central Oregon Fire Information, firefighters “anticipate several days of work to secure the fire.” As personnel continues their suppression operations, “wind and warmer temperatures across the area remain a worry today.”
The remaining new fires were mostly small in size.
The remaining lightning fires were all maintained under control, but Carol Connolly with NWCC noted that numerous clouds of smoke still needed to be inspected. Today, reconnaissance aircraft will be flying over the area.
While the weather is favorable in the short term, the forecast for next week includes another extended and strong heatwave, which raises some concerns about all the recent lightning strikes. Days or weeks following a lightning strike, especially when the weather is hot and dry, flames can break out.
Although it didn’t appear to significantly slow them down or even come close to putting them out for the season, it had a generally good effect on Oregon’s largest fires that were already blazing.
The Cedar Creek Fire was estimated to be 3,772 acres despite little rain and little growth.
In a morning briefing, Cedar Creek Fire incident manager Kyle Cannon said, “We didn’t see much fire movement yesterday, however, there is some heat in the Black Creek and south end of the fire towards Waldo Lake.
Firefighters who were already assigned to huge fires like Cedar Creek kept themselves busy by primarily extinguishing lightning-sparked fires.
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