The weather and fire forecasts for this coming summer are not looking particularly good, either.
An unprecedented combination of strong easterly winds and low humidity coupled with prolonged drought conditions drove the spread of catastrophic wildfires in the Oregon Cascades last September, a new study has found.
“The individual wind and humidity conditions were rare but not unprecedented, but the combination of the two was,” said Larry O’Neill, an associate professor in OSU’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences and a co-author of the paper. “And individually, they were some of the worst conditions we’ve seen since we began keeping records from instrumented data.”
The weather and fire forecasts for this coming summer are not looking particularly good, either, he said. “The situation looks as bad or worse than last year,” O’Neill said. “Drought conditions have not recovered from last year, particularly in southern and eastern Oregon. Soil moistures remain low, and the vegetation fuel moisture has not recovered.”
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