The U.S. Drought Monitor map above shows most of Oregon and much of Washington to be abnormally dry, with parts of southern Oregon declared as a moderate to severe drought. The red colors over southeast Oregon indicate severe drought.
Central Oregon, including Bend and the Two Bulls wildfire are near the transition line of moderate to severe drought conditions. The city of Bend is less than 60 percent of normal precipitation since last fall. Mostly dry weather since mid May has helped to intensify fire danger.
The Forest Service in Oregon is expecting an active fire season due to dry weather and early snow melt. The brown shaded areas on the above map show all of California, Nevada and much of Oregon to see drought conditions persist or intensify over the summer months. Lightning strikes are a key factor in the number of fire starts and are difficult to forecast weeks in advance. A predicted El Nino weather pattern for next winter could lead to below normal precipitation across the northwest. In general, Washington State had a much better snowpack last winter than Oregon, which is one of the reasons for less concern of a bad wildfire season.
It has been determined that the Two Bulls Fire was human caused. This is a reminder of how careful we all need to be as we enjoy the outdoors in the coming months.
Meteorologist Rod Hill, follow me @