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Goodbye Rain, Hello Northwest Fire Season

Boise National Forest

Say goodbye to the rain. The Northwest and parts of Canada are about to see an abrupt shift from unseasonably cool weather to record-breaking temperatures, in some areas. Triple-digit highs are expected to settle over the region for the next week.

According to federal forecasters, it's going to be a tough wildfire season in the West. But here in the Northwest, it's been hard to see that prediction through all the rain.

Now, Colin Baxter of the National Weather Service says summer is about to come in for a landing. He points out the forecast for the Boise area. “Saturday, 103 degrees. Sunday, 104. Monday, 107. Tuesday, 107.”

Medford, Ore., could reach 106 next week. The forecast for Richland, Wash., shows 113 on Tuesday.

Geographer John Abatzoglou of the University of Idaho says the Northwest's dry winter set the stage for wildfires. “Much of the Northwest has been well below normal in terms of precipitation. So even though it has been a little bit wet the last few weeks, we still have very dry conditions.”

Abatzoglou notes that the heat wave is expected to hit just in time for the Fourth of July –- and lots of firework displays.

On the Web:

Current fire season outlook - National Interagency Fire Center