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Welcome back to the time of the summer when wildfire danger is at its apex in Central Oregon

Hopefully as you are reading this, you are in the shade or in an air-conditioned space and the air is still reasonably clear and void of wildfire smoke.

Going into this week, the weather forecast had suggested that Crook County would flirt with triple-digit weather and maintain temperatures in the mid to upper 90s throughout the next couple of weeks. Meanwhile, a red flag warning had been issued as dry lightning storms were expected to arrive.

Welcome back to the time of the summer when wildfire danger is at its apex in Central Oregon and in many other locations throughout the country. And there is potential for this season to be a real doozy – multiple days of hot and sunny weather have already baked the area and Crook County is one of several counties facing a drought severe enough that the governor approved a state of emergency declaration.

When you throw in the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has limited travel and vacation options and likely made camping and spending time outdoors even more popular than usual – if that's even possible – this area is as ripe as it gets for a wildfire.

So here we are again, urging people to please be careful and do everything you can to prevent wildfires. The past couple summers, local forest service personnel have reported an increase in the proportion of human-caused fires to lightning-started blazes. Obviously, none of us have any control over what Mother Nature does. As Doc Brown famously said about lightning in "Back to the Future," you never know when or where it is ever gonna strike.

But we can obey campfire regulations and we can be cautious with anything that has the potential to throw sparks. We can keep our properties clear of wildfire fuels and be mindful of defensible space.

What the future holds for this summer in terms of wildfires is tough to predict, especially when such things as wild whims of weather and the availability of firefighting resources changes with each incident. But if people do their part, at the very least, we won't be making the situation any worse.

So as the temperatures soar and the rains continue not to come, let's approach the rest of this summer with an abundance of caution, keep the air as clear as we can and keep our fingers crossed that Mother Nature takes it easy on everyone this summer.


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