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Fire conditions to intensify Thursday night and worsen on Friday

Cedar Creek 9-6-22
The Cedar Creek Fire, as seen from the Round Mountain lookout on Sept. 6, 2022.

The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for much of western Oregon. Very low humidity and east winds gusting up to 50 miles per hour are predicted across the Cascades.

Firefighters on the Cedar Creek Fire southeast of Eugene say they’ll be on high alert. Cory Robinson with Northwest Team Number 6 said conditions are expected to worsen late Thursday night heading into Friday morning.

“We’ll hit red flag criteria (around midnight). That will carry us through the night into Friday, into Saturday evening," he said. "So we don’t come out of those high, critical weather thresholds until we go into Sunday.”

As of Thursday morning, the Cedar Creek Fire was 31,000 acres in size and 18% contained. Fire officials are holding a virtual public meeting Thursday evening at 7 on the fire's Facebook page.

The forecast has prompted several utilities to announce possible power outages in areas that are prone to wildfires, as a way to prevent live wires from sparking new blazes. As of Thursday afternoon, at least one school district—Sweet Home—had canceled classes on Friday due to the impending power outages.

Forecasters say the east winds could result in increased levels of wildfire smoke in the Willamette Valley on Friday and Saturday. The Lane Regional Air Protection Agency and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality have issued air quality advisories for 12 Oregon counties: Coos, Curry, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Klamath, Lake, Lane, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa.

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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