Oregon Washington Fires
The prospect of scattered rain in the Pacific Northwest raised hopes for better firefighting conditions in Washington and Oregon as of Wednesday, September 16, after weeks of oppressive heat, hazardous air and unpredictable fires that have grown with terrifying speed up and down the coast. Though the storm system was not forecast to be significant, the possibility of rain clouds in coastal regions, instead of smoke plumes and falling ash, was a lifeline for residents after weeks of increasingly grim news. More than 30 people have died in wildfires in the past two months, hundreds of homes have been destroyed, and thousands of people remain in evacuation shelters. Inland and to the south, the forecast was less encouraging. Parts of Central Oregon were expecting gusts up to 35 miles per hour in the afternoon that could contribute to a “significant spread” of new and existing fires, the National Weather Service in Medford, Ore., said. Up to 29 fires were active in Oregon on Wednesday, spread over more than 843,500 acres. Washington State’s Governor Inslee said that they are in a much better position and could possibly be able to help its neighbors by sharing some of its resources with Oregon.