Climate Corner: The relationship between fall rain and summer wildfires

Climate Corner: The relationship between fall rain and summer wildfires

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — In the summer we are searching for rain to help out the wildfires across the Pacific Northwest. It doesn’t come around often, and sometimes when it does, it brings a backpack full of lightning with it. As the fall season comes creeping in, our climate favors more rain. This is Mother Nature’s helping hand.

September ended with multiple systems that brought in steady and consistent rain for the Cascades. This helps boost our rain totals from the mountains to the coast. Also bringing some rain to the mountains for the eastern edges of the state. That rain definitely helps out the wildfires. Cycle through the slideshow below to see the number of large wildfires in Oregon decrease by 50% from August to early October.

Thanks to beneficial rain, increased humidity, shorter days and cooler daytime highs, fire season has come to an end for multiple districts across Oregon. The Oregon Department of Forestry announced an end to fire season for the following areas: West Oregon, Western Lane and South Cascade districts serving Lane, Benton, Lincoln, Polk, and the southern part of Linn and Yamhill counties. Douglas Forest Protective Association ended fire season in Douglas County. Coos Fire Protective Association also ended fire season in Curry and Coos counties. The Southwest Oregon District dropped fire danger to low, but fire season remains in effect.

District officials caution that people should still exercise care when planning any outdoor burning as fires can escape control even outside of fire season. Although fire danger levels have dropped around most of Oregon, fire season remains in effect in all other ODF districts pending further improvement in their local fire-risk conditions.

Here is a visual representation of the current large wildfires around Washington and Oregon as of Monday, October 4, 2021.

You can see how the water year caught an extra boost in September. This was the type of water we needed to help wildland firefighters and drought conditions.

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