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Parts Of Eastern And Central Oregon Experiencing Historic Drought Conditions

Brian Bull

As another heat wave nears, parts of Oregon are already experiencing their driest spells yet in recorded history, according to Oregon State University researchers.

“Bleak” is the word Larry O’Neill uses to describe the irrigation and soil moisture outlook. He’s a professor with OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences.

“For instance, the Klamath, Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Wasco County…each of those counties have seen either their driest or second driest springtime on record,” said O’Neill.

“And depending which county you’re in, it was one of the top five to seven driest going back in historical data record going back to 1895.”

O’Neill’s colleague, OSU Forestry professor Meg Krawchuk, says current wildfires are happening in conditions drier than normal.

“From what I hear from colleagues on the ground, those fires are burning through conditions that are characteristic of what we might see in July,” said Krawchuk. “Were’ starting hot we’re starting dry for our fires, and we’ll have to wait and see where that goes.”

Both Krawchuk and O’Neill spoke at an OSU media webinar on drought and wildfires. 

Copyright 2021, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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