OAKRIDGE, Ore. – There has been quite a bit of smoke in the valleys this weekend and Monday. It’s all a part of the Deception Complex Fire near Oakridge.
“Since July there has been five thunderstorms that have gone through this area. Out of those thunderstorms we have had 92 fires that have been detected,” said Mike Waite, Fire Information Officer.
Fire crews can’t predict where exactly lightning will strike and if a wildfire will spark, but predicting the weather is useful in the fire fight.
“My job as the incident meteorologist is to develop forecasts, create a weather watch, as far as anything that can impact firefighter safety, asset safety. Basically any kind of weather danger,” said Kurt Van Speybroeck, National Weather Service.
Van Speybroeck is the onsite meteorologist creating forecasts for the fire are each day. He says the weather has been unique.
“It’s been really hot, it’s been dry, but we’ve had periods of rain. It’s been really odd because you’ll get hot and dry patterns followed by a little bit of rain and the cycle will repeat. It’s kind of like groundhog’s day,” Van Speybroeck said.
He uses weather data in his remote weather desk to create a forecast, which is then presented in the command meeting to determine the plan of attack for the fires.
“They do strategic planning and tactical planning. They, basically asses the weather on the ground with my help and sometimes I’ll be out in the field with them,” Van Speybroeck said.
For more information on the Deception Complex Fire or other wildfires across the state click here.