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2021 Wildfire Season Already At High Risk For Oregon And Washington

Brian Bull

As the Pacific Northwest swelters inside a so-called “heat dome”, a meteorologist for a fire command agency says conditions are especially primed for wildfires this year. 

Eric Wise is a predictive meteorologist for the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center, which oversees fire management and suppression across Oregon and Washington. He said his biggest concern is the widespread drought conditions that opened up this wildfire season.

“Drought as bad as we’ve seen it, most recent similar year was 2015," Wise told KLCC.  "And this year has shaped up to be worse than that year in terms of the dryness. 

"And then with the excessive heat that’s come in recently, that’s definitely got us primed for those fuels to be receptive to ignition.” 

Wise said Oregon and Washington will enter July at higher-than-normal fire risk.  Come late August and September, he said conditions will return to normal levels, with full normalcy expected in October.

Copyright 2021, KLCC. 

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ 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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