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Lightning Keeping Firefighters Busier Than Usual This Year

Fire forecasters are predicting another week of diminished fire danger here in the Pacific Northwest.  Much of the region could see showers and thunderstorms beginning as early as Monday. 

Lightning-caused range fire in Eastern Oregon.

Lightning-caused range fire in Eastern Oregon.

Michael Clapp/OPB

Still, crews in Oregon and Washington are continuing to put out new fires.

So far, the region has had about 3,000 fires.  That’s just below the 10-year average, according to the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center.

Fire information officer Carol Connolly says, by contrast,  the region has received much more lightning than usual, more than 150,000 strikes.

“The average is 70,000 for 10 years.  So, this year we’ve had double the average lightning.  And to still only have, you know, 3,000 fires on the board is pretty amazing,” said Connolly.

When it comes to acreage burned, the region is just ahead of the 10-year average of 452,000 acres.  That’s a big decline from last year, when massive range fires in Eastern Oregon pushed the total to three times that.

Fire season in the Pacific Northwest typically lasts through September.

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