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Central Oregon not ‘out of the woods’ for fire season


Recent Central Oregon brushfires have officials reminding residents that even though cooler conditions have hit the High Desert, fire season is not over.

Bend Fire Battalion Chief Dave Howe said Tuesday there are many misconceptions about the tail end of fire season.

“People think that when it gets cool, fire season is over and they can just go back to doing things they would do with fire in the winter time,” said Howe. “That’s not true because we have a very changeable weather pattern.

“So we can have some cold days with moisture, but then we’ll have warm days and that will dry the fuels up especially the thin fuels. It will dry them out fast and it will be just as flammable as they were before the rain.”

Howe said there are three factors that can affect fire behavior: weather, terrain and fuel.

“We can control none of those, except to some extent the fuel when we do fuels modification,” Howe added. “We can’t control the weather, and we certainly can’t control the terrain. So what we use to deal with fire is our knowledge and our intelligence.”

Fire season is officially considered over after the region’s first big rainfall, which is usually around the middle of October.

Although we still have another few weeks, Howe said even if a significant fire were to spark, the community is well-prepared to tackle it.

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