Lightning and Fires Predicted this Weekend
August 16, 2012
The Northwest Interagency Coordination Center’s Predictive Services unit is keeping a close eye on the rapid weather developments across our landscape. The predicted high risk days are Thursday, Friday and Saturday when all extreme fire indicators will line up, causing forecasters to predict lightning activity and resulting fires.
“Hot and dry weather and extremely dry fuels provide the perfect combination for wildfire when paired with lightning that is expected later in the week,” says Katie Lighthall, Program Director for Project Wildfire.
Fire season is far from over this year and Project Wildfire reminds residents in central Oregon that they are our greatest resource when it comes to protecting homes and neighborhoods. “Firefighting resources are stretched tight across the nation and can be tied up on local emergencies as well, so it’s up to individual residents to take responsibility for the defensible space around their homes,” reminds Lighthall.
“Historically, some of the largest fires we’ve experienced in central Oregon have occurred in August and September,” says Ed Keith, Deschutes County Forester, referring to the B & B Complex, Shadow Lake, and Skeleton fires. “There is still time to prepare your homes and properties for fire events that happen in late summer,” Keith adds.
“The greatest risk to our homes and properties during a wildland fire event is from the burning embers that can spot or drop miles ahead of an advancing fire,” explains Lighthall.
To address this threat Project Wildfire recommends the following steps that homeowners can take right now to help protect themselves against this very real threat in central Oregon:
* Clear all pine needles, weeds, leaves and flammable debris from around your home including on roofs; in gutters; near fences; and on, around and under decks – anywhere where glowing embers can ignite and spread fire to your home.
* Reduce shrubs and other “ladder fuels” around your home that can spread fire to nearby trees or structures.
* Keep grass and weeds cut to 4” or less to prevent rapid fire spread.
* Trim up trees to prevent the spread of fire to the upper branches, or “crowns”.
* Remove all dead, dying and diseased vegetation around your home – maintain healthy trees and shrubs.
* Move wood piles at least 20 feet from your home and away from combustible materials or vegetation.
* Keep driveways clear by trimming trees and cutting weeds for easy access of emergency equipment.
McKenzie River Reflections