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‘Worst’ forecast of the fire season has Oregon on alert

Waldo Lake wildnerness
Alexa Valladolid
NW IMT 6/Inciweb
This photograph taken by fire officials shows an area burned by the Cedar Creek Fire. The photo was taken on Sept. 6, 2022.

Fire managers are gearing up for what appears to be some very challenging weather conditions later this week in Oregon.

The National Weather Service says much of the state will experience hot, dry, windy weather. And those winds, which could top 50 miles per hour in the Cascades, will come from the east.

“It’s hard to not think about what occurred in 2020,” said Mike Shaw, Chief of Fire Protection for the Oregon Department of Forestry.

That’s when east winds fanned a series of devastating fires across the state. Shaw told the Oregon Board of Forestry that the current forecast is the worst of the season. He’s especially worried about the town of Oakridge, which lies about 10 miles west of the Cedar Creek Fire in Lane County.

“It’s sitting in a location that, with the east wind prediction that’s coming our way, has it poised in a location that creates consternation and concern for us,” he said. "It's aligned in a significant drainage, that with the east winds, could create problems."

As of Wednesday morning, the Cedar Creek Fire was estimated at just over 18,000 acres, with 12% containment.

There are several evacuation notices in effect, mainly in sparsely populated areas to the east and north of Waldo Lake. Most recreation facilities in the Waldo Lake area are currently closed due to the fire.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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