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La Grande Observer Paper 08/29/14

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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Wildfire season could be trouble

Wildfire season could be trouble

State experts say summer fire season has potential to be well above average

A fall and early winter drought, reduced snowpacks and drought conditions expanding into western and central Oregon are all expected to create above normal wildfire potential in Oregon this summer, officials said. 

Whether the state will see a repeat of last year’s devastating fire season — the worst on state-protected land in 60 years due to four times the usual number of lightning strikes — will depend on the number of dry lightning strikes and where they occur, said fire meteorologist John Saltenberger.

Saltenberger gave his assessment at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in downtown Portland, the nerve center for marshaling federal firefighter resources — and coordinating with the Oregon Department of Forestry — during fire season.

“Forecasters at the Climate Prediction Center in Washington, D.C., continue to bulls-eye the West Coast with a better-than-average likelihood of an unusually warm summer,’’ Saltenberger said. “We’re anticipating that more forested areas — particularly at high elevations — are going to come into unusually warmer temperatures earlier in the year than typical.”

for full story, see Friday's edition of The Observer 

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