FORECAST FOR 8/3/2015
Mostly to partly cloudy / smokey with scattered showers and thunderstorms. Storms that form could produce wetting rainfall. Some storms could still be dry storms with little to no rainfall. Storms are likely to produce gusty outflow winds. Highs will be in the low to mid 90s for the valleys, and 80s for the mountains and east of the Cascades. Overnight lows will be in the mid 60s for the valleys, and in the 50s for the mountains and east of the Cascades.
RED FLAG WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 2 PM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH 11 PM TONIGHT FOR THE CASCADES, EASTERN DOUGLAS COUNTY INCLUDING THE CABLE CROSSING, STOUT CREEK, AND POTTER MOUNTAIN FIRES, AND ALL OF KLAMATH AND LAKE COUNTIES WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE VERY EXTREME NORTHERN PORTIONS OF BOTH COUNTIES IN SOUTHERN OREGON, AND ALSO WESTERN SISKIYOU COUNTY IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.
The National Weather Service office in Medford, Oregon has issued a Red Flag Warning for the above areas due to expected development of thunderstorms with frequent lightning striking very dry fuels. While storms today are producing more rainfall, some storms that will form will produce little to no rainfall. Numerous new fire starts that overwhelm initial response capability are still expected. Additionally, gusty outflow winds will cause new fire starts to spread rapidly, and create erratic behavior on established fires.
IN THE NEWS.....OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE ENACTS EMERGENCY CLOSURES TO HELP SALMON, STEELHEAD, STURGEON, AND TROUT WITH HIGH WATER TEMPERATURES IN RIVERS AND STREAMS. SEE STORY DOWN BELOW
WEATHER SUMMARY DISCUSSION - Brought to you by: CRATER LAKE FORD
Thunderstorm activity was much more isolated west of the Cascades yesterday thanks to cloud cover and heavy smoke. Just could not enough widespread areas of heating of the lower atmosphere. Showers were more common. What rains did fall were very welcome indeed. West of the Cascades the amounts were not all that impressive. But, weather stations in mountainous areas east of he Cascades recorded up to .80 inches of rainfall from storms. Even were there was not much rain, the higher humidity levels, clouds, and cooler temps had a blanketing effect on the fires. Fire behavior was markedly reduced on the fires here in Southern Oregon. Further south in Northern California, fire behavior continued to be active to extreme. That will impact us because the mid and upper level winds are still coming from that direction bringing smoke up over Southern Oregon. At the surface winds will still transport smoke in from the Cable Crossing, and Stouts Creek fires for the Rogue and Illinois Valleys. East of the Cascades, the Klamath Basin is also getting socked in with smoke. That smoke is coming from the Frog Fire in Modoc County at the surface, and then from further south in California at the upper levels. It is looking lie we will see a wind shift on Wednesday that should help get the smoke out of the valleys and pushed to the east.
For today we do expect to see isolated to scattered thunderstorms. The Red Flag Warning up for today also highlights where the chances are best for storms to develop. For areas west of the Cascades, the most activity is going to be along the Siskiyous and also the Umpqua Divide. An isolated storm may get going over the valley areas. Expect rainfalls to be better than yesterday with the storms. BUT! Lightning activity with the storms is also expected to be much higher today. And of course right now, the lightning is likely to get a fire going with every ground strike. Just hope we get enough rain with the lightning to help keep new fire starts small. Expect gusty winds out of storms as well. That of course will aid new fires in spreading and create sudden erratic behavior on existing fires. This is one of the big reasons the Red Flag Warning is up.
We will be clearing things out for tomorrow. Going to see mostly sunny and dry conditions. Areas of smoke will still be around and look to be through the week at least. There could be some thunder east of the Cascades for the afternoon and evening as well. I am not seeing big heat this week. We are going to be pretty much seasonal for our temps with highs mostly near 90 to 95 for the majority of the week. The exceptions will be Friday with highs looking like they will be upper 90s for the valleys. But, that is just a one day thing. A trough will move in off the ocean and that will get temps moving back down again this weekend. That incoming trough will also trigger off a chance for afternoon and evening showers and storms for areas east of he Cascades and down in Northern California through the weekend.
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FIRE INFORMATION: BROUGHT TO YOU BY -
IN OREGON THE FIRE DANGER LEVEL IS AT EXTREME IN DOUGLAS COUNTY, JACKSON, AND JOSEPHINE COUNTIES. CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE RESTRICTIONS IN SOUTHERN OREGON.
IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, THE FIRE DANGER LEVEL IS AT HIGH. CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FIRE DEPARTMENTS OR CAL FIRE FOR CURRENT REGULATIONS.
MAJOR FIRE UPDATES -
CABLE CROSSING: Douglas County east of Glide. 1,613 acres, 20 percent containment. Burning on lands protected by the Douglas Forest Protective / Oregon Department of Forestry and also on the Umpqua National Forest. Cloud cover, combined with lower temperature, higher relative humidity, and decreased winds created greatly decreased fire activity today. Short range spotting occurred from burnout operations. Those spot fires were quickly contained. All perimeter growth was from burnout operations. Fire fighters will continue to improve control lines and mop up fire. Work to secure the perimeter with control lines along south and west side of the fire. Fire fighters will also conduct burn out operations and hold. Aircraft will be available to support suppression operations. A Level 1 Evacuation Notification remains in effect along Little River Road from the Peel Store to the Wolf Creek Trail Head. A Level 1 also remains in effect for homes along Highway 138 in the vicinity of Evergreen Lane to Honeycut Road. Highway 138 remains open with one lane of travel in the fire zone. A pilot car is escorting traffic. Expect delays for travel. Total personnel - 1250 under the command of Oregon IMT 3 lead by Incident commander Link Smith.
STOUTS CREEK: Douglas County near Milo. 15,200 acres, 3 percent containment. Burning on lands protected by the Douglas Forest Protective / Oregon Department of Forestry and also on the Umpqua National Forest. Fire behavior moderated today with higher RHs, scattered light precipitation and heavy smoke over the fire area. Backing, creeping, and isolated torching were the observed fire behaviors. Fire fighters worked to reinforce line constructed from the anchor point established in Div A and Div V. They continue to mop-up and establish contingency line in Div A to the north. In Div E, H and P; they are building contingency lines and looking for opportunities to construct direct and indirect line when conditions allow and as access is gained. The State Fire Marshal Green Team will continue to work with land owners to assess and protect structures to the north near Milo, to the east near Tiller and Drew and to the south along Cow Creek Road from Mile post 13 to the east. Total personnel - 1224. The fire is now under a unified command of Oregon IMT 1 lead by John Buckman, Oregon State Fire Marshal's Green Team for structure defense lead by Ted Kunze, and now a National IMT under the command of Bill Hahnenberg.
NEW FIRE - POTTER MOUNTAIN FIRE: Douglas County near Toketee Reservoir and Diamond Lake. 25 acres, zero percent containment reported. Burning on the Umpqua National Forest. Lightning ignited the fires that make up the Potter Mountain Fire last night. There were 14 reported fires most of which were under a 10th of an acre. However, a larger fire is burning on Potter Mountain about 5 miles from Toketee Reservoir. A local incident management team will give way to a national type 3 IMT from New Mexico tomorrow morning. It is very early in this incident still and information has been slow in coming in.
NEW FIRE - PHILLIPS CREEK FIRE: 1,100 acres at zero percent containment. The fire is burning on the Umatilla National Forest. The fire is seven miles northwest of Elgin in Northeastern Oregon. The fire is burning in timber, medium logging slash, and tall grass. Active fire behavior has been seen with torching, long-range spotting and wind-driven runs. Numerous structures are threatened. Road, area and trail closures in effect. Total personnel - 228 under the command of Oregon IMT 2 with Applegate Fire District Chief Brett Fillis as the IC.
NORTHERN CALIFORNIA, (SISKIYOU, MODOC, TRINITY, HUMBOLDT, AND DEL NORTE COUNTIES):
The situation in Northern California is unfolding rapidly! Numerous new fires have resulted from lightning on Thursday and Friday. These fires have been growing quickly and evacuations and road closures in the fire areas are happening.
RIVER COMPLEX: 3,182 ACRES, zero percent containment reported. The complex is burning on the Shasta Trinity National Forest and also has two fires on the Six Rivers National Forest. Many of the 18 fires of the River Complex have burned together. Following is a list of fires by forest; Six Rivers National Forest: Fires is burning in the Trinity Alps Wilderness Groves Fire 722 acres Elk Fire 607 acres. Shasta-Trinity National Forest: Happy Fire 1,048 acres Daily Fire 16 acres Dyer Fire 674 acres Look Fire 6 acres Onion Fire 108 acres Smokey Fire 1 acre. The fires of the complex continued to spread today. Fires were observed making uphill runs, backing down slope and torching multiple trees. The focus of firefighters is preparing for the defense of many of the 110 residences threatened in the Denny area. Vegetation around many structures is being modified to provide for defensible space. Keeping the Denny Road clear has presented a challenge due to falling rocks and trees. There are many hazard trees throughout the fire area posing a danger to firefighters and motorists. Motorists are urged to use caution when travelling in the area due to the smoke hazard and the potential of firefighters working along the roadways. Total personnel - 149 with more resources on order. The fire is under the command of California Inter-Agency Incident Management Team 3. The IC is Mark von Tillow.
FORK COMPLEX: 23,729 acres, at 5 percent containment. The fires are burning on the Shasta Trinity National Forest. The Fork Complex consists of approximately 40 fires, all of which were ignited by lightning between July 29 and 31, 2015. Operational priorities are to provide for firefighter and public safety, provide community and infrastructure defense, and protect natural and cultural resources. Most growth overnight was observed on the Rail Fire. Firefighters made progress overnight preparing structures and conducting burning operations for structure protection. The fire area experienced good humidity recovery overnight, and crews were able to take advantage of conditions to continue to scout and construct fire containment lines. Crews will continue today to prioritize structure protection around the affected communities. A Red Flag Watch (downgraded from a full Red Flag Warning this morning) has been issued for the fire area today for isolated thunderstorms, which could produce gusty and erratic winds. Temperatures are predicted to moderate in the coming days, with a chance of thunderstorms remaining in the forecast into next week. Additional overhead has been ordered to more effectively manage the large number of fires in the area, and the Fork Complex will be split into three separate complexes. A Type I Incident Management Team (Oplinger) will assume command of the Fork Complex on Monday morning. The Fork Complex will now include the fires around Hayfork, including the Blue, Deer, Rail, Farmer, and Barker Fires (which will remain in Unified Command with CalFIRE.) Another Type 2 Incident Management Team (Walker) will assume command of the fires around Hyampom, including the Pelleteau/ Pell/Pell2, Kerlin, and Gates fires. As of 6A.M. on Monday, Northern California Interagency IMT 2 will take command of the South Complex which includes the Castle Fire, and all fires east of the South Fork of the Trinity River and south of Hwy 299. All firefighting resources associated with these will be based at the Hyampom Airport. Total personnel - 1,180
SHF JULY LIGHTNING COMPLEX: 500 acres total. Containment varies with some smaller fires 100 percent contained and others at 10 percent or less containment. The fires are on the Shasata Trinity National Forest lands east and northeast of Redding, California. Over the past 24 hours, approximately 15 lightning strikes occurred throughout the Shasta Trinity National Forest that resulted in two new fires. The Caves fire, east of Mt Shasta, is approximately one tenth of an acre. The Bluejay fire, east of Shasta Lake, is approximately four acres. Firefighters have halted forward progression on the Water, Caves, and Bluejay fires and expect full containment over the next few days. Current weather conditions and heavy smoke from the numerous forest fires have hampered aerial operations across the forest.As weather and smoke conditions allow, aerial observation efforts will continue across the forest to detect any new fires. Residents and visitors alike are urged to be careful when traveling through or recreating in the forest. Total personnel - 196 under the command of a regional IMT.
FROG FIRE: 3900 acres at 4 percent containment. Fire is burning on the Modoc National Forest. Fire activity decreased today due to cloud cover and higher humidities. Flanking fire was observed in areas of heavy fuels with group torching and short range spotting. Fire fighters worked to secure established control lines and continue direct line construction where possible. Scouting for opportunities for indirect line construction was also done. Thoughts and prayers again for the family, friends, and co workers of Dave Ruhl who died in the line of duty on this fire Thursday night. Total personnel - 465 under the command of Jay Kurth, Nor Cal Team 1 IMT.
MAD RIVER COMPLEX: 11,000 acres at zero percent containment. The complex is burning on the Six Rivers National Forest. The Mad River Complex is a series of seven lightning fires that started on July 30th, 2015 after a lightning storm moved through Northern California. Crews have focused their efforts on structure defense in the area of Ruth Lake. Today burnout operations using low intensity fire are being conducted on the Gobbler and Pickett Fires to consume vegetation between the fires uncontrolled edge and the containment lines. The five other fires include the Lassic Fire, the Jack Fire, the Swayback, the Tierney Fire, and the Buck Fire. Some of the fires are in remote areas and crews are making their way into the area to develop plans to contain them. Drought stricken fuel has caused the rapid fire growth along with steep terrain. Firefighters originally fought 25 fires and were able to contain most of the fires. Evacuation of the area around Ruth Lake was ordered and road closures around the lake are in effect. Highway 36 is closed between the community of Mad River and Forest Glen. Fire Camp is established at Flying AA Guest Ranch for the nearly 400 firefighters. Some additional fires might be detected from the original lightning storms in the upcoming days and will be attacked once they are found. Damage assessment is ongoing and crews will determine the extent of structures and equipment damaged or destroyed. Total personnel - 350 under the command of Norm Walker and Southern California IMT #1.
HUMBOLDT LIGHTNING COMPLEX: 2,038 acres, 10 percent contained. There is a total of 70 lightning sparked fires burning across Humboldt County. The complex is under Cal Fire command. A full resource mix of hand crews, engines, water tenders, bulldozers, and aircraft have been deployed.
ROCKY FIRE: 60,000 acres, 12 percent contained. The fire is burning on lands protected by Cal Fire. The fire activity has grown dramatically and firefighters are aggressively working to stop the progression. The terrain is steep and rugged with limited access, fuels are at critical levels and there is little to no fire history in the area. In total, all evacuations impact over 12,190 citizens living in over 5,201 residences. Damage assessment teams have begun initial assessments based on access through fire affected areas. Resources continue to respond from around the state. Total Fire Personnel 2,737. Total Fire crews 59. Total Engines 254. Total Water Tenders: 38. Total Dozers: 58. Total Helicopters: 19 . Total Airtankers 4 large. The fire is under command of Cal Fire IMT 2.
RAINFALL SUMMARY FOR MEDFORD AS OF 8/3/2015
Rainfall for the 24 hours ending at Midnight last night: Trace
For the month of August the rainfall total is 0.01. This is 0.01 below average for the date. Normal rainfall in August for Medford is 0.60 inches.
For the Calendar year: 7.44 inches of rainfall. Normal rainfall in Medford for a calendar year is 18.75 inches. We are 2.32 inches below average for the calendar year to date.
For the water year since October 1: 14.29 inches. This is 3.11 inches below average to the date.
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IN THE NEWS:
OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE ANNOUNCES EMERGENCY CLOSURES IN RIVERS AND STREAMS TO PROTECT SALMON, STEELHEAD, AND TROUT.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced emergency restrictions over most of the state designed to protect salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and trout.
Effective July 18th, angling for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and trout is closed daily after 2 pm until 1 hour before sunrise the following day in most of Oregon. Locally there are two sections of the Rogue River not affected by this action. One is the Upper Rogue from Fishers Ferry upstream to the hatchery. The other is the lower Rogue River in the tidewater area.
The closure was announced due to extremely warm water temps that place undue stress on fish and lead to high mortality rates for fish that are hooked and released, or fish that are hooked and not landed.
Click here to the link to the ODF&W website on the matter.
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RogueWeather.com is based in Medford, Oregon. The founder, Greg Roberts is the forecaster. Greg has nearly 30 years of weather forecasting experience, specializing in severe weather events. Greg has received training from a variety of sources, including the University of Oklahoma.
Greg volunteers as a Skywarn weather observer for the National Weather Service. This has lead to many hours out in the field storm chasing and getting up close with the storms he loves.
Greg also served as a wildland and municipal fire fighter and EMT. While a fire fighter he earned many certifications including Engine Company Officer and Incident Commander for wildland fires. His weather knowledge was useful on wildland fires he worked in Oregon and Northern California. Greg still consults with various fire departments, and also for private wildland fire fighting companies on fire related matters.
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