drought

Central Oregon Fire Info

Heavy rainfall this spring helped boost Oregon's snowpack after several years of below-average levels. Depending on how wet or dry the rest of the spring turns out, the 2017 wildfire season could be less dramatic than in previous years.

USDA / Flickr.com

A new Oregon State University study shows forest fires have increased across the Pacific Northwest, with more severe blazes negatively affecting old growth forests.  KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

Talk Of Drought Quiet This Year Among Oregon Farmers

Apr 10, 2016
Jamie Francis/The OregonianPivot

State water supply levels have Oregon farmers optimistic this year. Last April, mountain snowpack and reservoir levels were much lower than average. This year, talk of drought is somewhat quiet.

Central Oregon Fire Info

It's been a wet winter, but fire season is just around the corner. The Oregon Department of Forestry is already planning for summer 2016.   

It's going to be a white Christmas in the mountain ranges of Oregon. And the Eugene-Springfield area might even get some snow.

Courtney Flatt

This summer’s hot, dry weather has left Northwest apple growers hurting for water to irrigate their orchards. It’s a hint at what’s predicted as the climate continues to warm.

Ashley Ahearn

As we get into the late summer, water supplies in much of the Northwest continue to drop.

The snow that usually melts and keeps streams and lakes full late in the season never really showed up this year.

Rowan Moore Gerety / Northwest Public Radio

Salmon are a touchstone in the Northwest...in food, in nature, and now, in the damage wrought by the ongoing drought: less than half of returning Sockeye are expected to survive to the end of summer. But another important fish is dying in unprecedented numbers too: the massive white sturgeon native to the Columbia River.

City Data

The City of Oakridge is asking residents and businesses to conserve water. The council has imposed a moderate water curtailment plan.

Louis Gomez is Oakridge City Administrator. He says the city has 4 active wells. A year ago this month they were drawn down to 62 feet. This year, the drawdown is at 85 feet.

Friends of Trees

Tree advocates are urging Oregonians to water their trees during this dry summer. Most of the state is in drought, which stresses even well-established trees.

Eric Burke, with Friends of Trees, spoke with me on his cell phone from where he and volunteers were weeding and mulching trees near Beltline Road in Eugene. He explains what trees need during an especially dry summer.

City of Eugene

Citing severe drought conditions, the Eugene City Council has banned fireworks in the south hills. 

Facing a forecast in the 90’s through the holiday weekend, councilors held an emergency meeting Wednesday.  The result was a unanimous vote to ban all fireworks within City limits south of 18th Avenue and all areas east of Agate Street.

Chris Pryor: “But I don’t want to support anything that doesn’t have teeth behind it.”

If You Are Camping, Leave Fireworks At Home

Jun 29, 2015
https://twitter.com/amberwilmarth

High temperatures and drought conditions in Oregon mean campers need to be extra vigilant this year to prevent forest fires. Willamette National Forest officials are worried about fireworks during the upcoming 4th of July holiday.

Ken Gregor - Incident Commander

Updated Sunday 2:00 pm:

Lemolo Lake Resort and the Forest Service Campgrounds at Poole Creek and East Lemolo remain open.  Bunker Hill, Inlet, and Crystal Springs  Campgrounds are closed to protect public safety.

The Bunker Hill Complex is located 15 miles north of Diamond Lake.  The fire complex consists of one larger fire called the Bunker Hill Fire and several small fires all burning within the Umpqua National Forest.

http://www.eweb.org/ggg.htm

With temperatures reaching between 90 and 100, the Eugene Water and Electric Board is asking customers to voluntarily reduce water use. Oregon, like many parts of the western U.S., is currently in a drought and experienced a record low snow pack this year. EWEB Spokesman Joe Harwood isn't anticipating any mandated water restrictions, like in certain parts of California.

Harwood: "We don't think that's going to happen, and that's why we're taking this voluntarily approach because just because you can use water, doesn't mean you always should."

Oregon Water Resources Department

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency in Sherman County due to a lack of snow pack and low water conditions. This brings the number of Oregon counties under drought emergency to twenty. Last year, only ten counties had the designation.

Gov. Brown says the signs are already apparent in many of Oregon's rivers, streams, fields and yards.

Jes Burns / Earthfix

You’ve probably heard by now that reservoirs in the Northwest are low on water, but you may be surprised just how dry they are.

Many lakes levels are lower this spring than they’ve been in 30 years. This is especially true at some of the most popular recreation lakes.
 

The marina at Howard Prairie Lake is high and dry. The docks tilt awkwardly this way and that, stranded on the uneven lake bottom.

Steve Lambert: “Normally, on a year when the lake is full, we’d most likely have 15 to 16 feet of water above our heads. So, yeah, it’s a little pasture right now.”

Douglas Forest Protective Association

The federal government is warning this could be a dangerous and costly wildfire season in the west, due in part to drought and climate change.

The Douglas Forest Protective Association oversees 1.6-million acres of land in Douglas County. Fire Prevention Specialist Kyle Reed says their 10-year average is about 90 fires a year. He says they're already one-third of the way there.

KMTR

Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced drought emergencies in 8 additional counties Friday, including Lane.  Many reservoirs in Lane County are only half full.

Last week, Governor Kate Brown declared drought emergency in two more Oregon counties—Wheeler and Baker. Currently, more than half of the state is eligible for emergency federal aid—and it's only April. KLCC’s Tiffany Eckert spoke with one of the state’s leading climatologists about regional drought and what the future holds.

Wikimedia Commons

California is four years into a historic drought, and water for human use is vying with the water needs of wildlife, such as threatened salmon.

In parts of northern California, an explosive and unregulated increase in marijuana cultivation is contributing to the problem. Now, a study says the impact of pot grows on fish-bearing streams is threatening their survival.

Researchers monitoring water levels in streams in Humboldt and Mendocino Counties last summer say the water impacts of cannabis grow operations are dramatic.

Several wildfires sparked overnight in the Oregon coast range and Cascade foothills. The National Weather service has issued a rare January Red Flag Warning for the region.

Trina Hartley is a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Portland.  She says strong easterly winds encouraged the small blazes. A few are in the Cascades in southern Oregon But there were also several fires in the coast range.

Hartley: "On the coast in particular it's hard to get a fire started in July so to have these fire starts in January is extremely rare."