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Hot summer, late fire season, among predictions for the region

 A school building. Its sign has been severely damaged. A pickup truck with official markings sits in the driveway. A shroud of smoke hangs over the building.
Andy Nelson
The McKenzie Community School was one of the few buildings in Blue River, Ore. that survived the Holiday Farm Fire in Sept. 2020.

A hotter than normal summer and a later but possibly longer fire season are on the horizon for the pacific northwest, according to climate and fire experts.

At a recent media forum, Oregon State University scientists talked about what to expect for this fire season. Despite heavier than normal snowpack this winter and a rainy spring, the forecast is looking hot and dry for the coming months.

OSU Forestry Professor John Bailey said a cool, wet spring can lead to more fire fuels once they dry out.

“July, August are forecasted to be a little warmer than normal. And so, the fuel and warmth towards the end of the fire season, I think that’s what has most foresters worried,” Bailey said.

Bailey said the biggest fear is that fire season could linger into October or even November. But, he and other experts say now is the time to prepare, by hardening homes against fire starts.

Communities should also prepare for the heat and potential smoky conditions that can endanger human health.

Copyright 2023 KLCC

Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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