Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The heat is on

Up until last week, I would have said that we, here in the Northwest, were having one of the milder summers I can remember. It's nice to live in a place where the day time temperatures don't get up past 90 very much. It's one of the reasons I abandoned the southwest after high school.
However, even those 100+ degree days in Albuquerque were tolerable compared to heat waves up here. The thing about the southwest, and please forgive the use of this cliche, is that when it gets hot, the humidity tends not to bother you much. I can remember being outside and active on 100 degree days as a teenager.
So it was with dismay that I noted the oncoming heat wave we just experienced this last weekend. Two days at 100+ and a couple more in the high 90s. This is that's paired with high humidity. You folks on the east coast of the U.S. know what I mean. It saps the life out of you. Luckily, these waves don't normally last very long, and aren't native. Usually they swoop in through the Gorge from the drier lands east of the Cascades. This one came from California. Thanks so much, guys.

With hot weather comes fire. You probably hear it often said that our forests are tinder boxes waiting to consume the countryside. Well, there is some truth to that, and we do indeed have some fires going in Oregon and Washington. Keep your eyes out if you are recreating.
This site, the National Fire News, brought to us from the handy National Interagency Coordination Center (nice to know those folks at the Fed are coordinating for a change), and it's Northwest version, has a list of all the current fires blazing.

In Washington there's a big fire burning in the Wenachee/Okanogan national forest. It's in the hills, near the wilderness areas. Might be close to Lake Chelan too, so keep updated.

The most dangerous fire in Oregon, although not the biggest yet, is the Black Crater fire near Sisters. It's near McKenzie pass on Hwy 242. It's only 100 acres, but listed as zero percent contained, so it could get much bigger. Evacuations are happening in the area. If I were traveling across the Cascades I would not take hwy 242 or hwy 20 at this point.

The Foster Gulch and Mclean fires are burning in Hells Canyon area at 2500 and 1500 acres each.

There's a 400 acre brush/grass fire a few miles from the Crooked River ranch (off Hwy 97).
And there's a 42,000 acre brush fire way out in the middle of nowhere in Harney county (apologies to the few people who actually live way out there).

There's a good map at the Northwest site showing the fire locations.

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