Current situation

Fire season on ODF-protected land has officially ended in all of Oregon as cooler temperatures and moister conditions settle over much of the state. With the end of wildfire season in Oregon, firefighting resources are now more available. As a result, several public and private engines and crews have been dispatched to California to assist with the devastating wildfires there.































Saturday, September 10, 2011

Smoke forecast for this weekend - ODF Weather Office

WILDFIRE SMOKE FORECAST

OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY WEATHER OFFICE
2:35 PM PDT FRI SEP 9 2011

AIR QUALITY:

Due to the various fire locations, a variety of wind patterns, and a stable atmosphere, wildfire smoke has been able to spread out over most of the state during the past few days. Virtually all of the state’s smoke monitoring equipment, operated by the DEQ and LRAPA, is showing elevated smoke levels. The highest readings this afternoon (Friday) were at locations near active fires in the northern Cascades and North-Central Oregon (Lyons, Government Camp, The Dalles), southwest Oregon (Shady Cove, Medford), and in northeastern Oregon (La Grande, Cove).

DEQ nephelometer readings (statewide) are available at: http://weather.smkmgt.com/tools/deq/map.htm

LRAPA nephelometer readings (Lane County) are available at: http://mdas.lrapa.org/DataSummary.aspx

SMOKE DISPERSION FORECAST:

Wildfire smoke dispersion depends on the stability of the atmosphere as well as wind direction and speed. A stable atmosphere holds smoke to the ground and an unstable atmosphere allows smoke to rise and dissipate. Smoke is typically mixed to higher altitudes during the afternoon, when daytime heating destabilizes the air mass. Conversely, smoke tends to settle near the ground and in drainages during the overnight and early morning hours.

Saturday: As the upper-level ridge of high pressure continues to build over the region, transport winds are forecast to turn more easterly across the state. That should further increase smoke levels across much of western Oregon and all areas west of active fires in general. The air mass will continue to stabilize, so the “dry” thunderstorm threat will be minimal. Warm air aloft will only allow for marginal daytime mixing of the air mass. Western Oregon smoke levels will likely peak Saturday night into early Sunday.

Sunday: The surface thermal trough is forecast to shift from the coast to over the western valleys Sunday morning. Winds will slacken and turn weakly southerly across most of the state. Smoke levels should peak along the I5 corridor, with smoke levels increasing again for areas to the north of active wildfires. The thermal trough is forecast to shift into Central Oregon Sunday afternoon. That will initiate a westerly transport flow into western Oregon, and begin to improve air quality along the I5 corridor. In contrast, an increasing westerly flow will deteriorate air quality for areas to the east of active fires in Central Oregon. Winds in eastern Oregon will become light with warm air aloft allowing for only marginal vertical mixing of smoke. Smoke from active fires in eastern Oregon could fan out in any direction.

Monday: The surface thermal trough will begin the day over Central Oregon; progressing into eastern Oregon in the afternoon. Increasing onshore flow should dramatically improve air quality across the interior valleys of western Oregon (assuming, of course, that no new wildfires pop up in the coast range). In contrast, areas east of active fires, in Central Oregon, may see an increase in smoke. Light transport winds are forecast for the eastern third of the state, with a tendency for a northwesterly component late in the day. That would likely mean an increase in smoke for areas to the southeast of active wildfires in northeastern Oregon.

This information is provided by the Oregon Department of Forestry Weather Office at the request of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality.It is also on the web at: http://www.odf.state.or.us/DIVISIONS/protection/fire_protection/DAILY/wfsmoke.htm

No updates before Monday, September 12th.
For more information, contact DEQ’s Larry Calkins: 541-467-8297 or calkins.larry@deq.state.or.us

Pete Parsons
ODF Meteorologist

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Current wildfire info

Cool, wet weather in the winter of 2016-17 ended Oregon's long drought and left a thick snowpack at higher elevations which will take some time to melt. However, even in non-drought years Oregon's warm, dry summers create conditions that allow for fire to start and spread. In an average summer firefighters still see almost a thousand fires on lands protected by the Oregon Department of Forestry.



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Protection jurisdiction

The Oregon Dept. of Forestry protects 16 million acres of private and public forestlands from wildfire. This includes all private forestlands in Oregon as well as state and local government-owned forests, along with 2.8 million acres of federal Bureau of Land Management lands in the western part of the state. In total there are about 30.4 million acres of forest in Oregon.



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The department fights fire aggressively, seeking to put out most fires at 10 acres or smaller. This approach minimizes damage to the timber resource and fish and wildlife habitat, and protects lives and property. It also saves money. While suppressing large fires can cost millions of dollars, economic and environmental damage from wildfires can be many times greater.





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Oregon Dept. of Forestry's public information officers in Salem, Ore., maintain this blog. During the wildfire season, we spend much of our time reporting on fires and firefighting to news media and the public.