TILLAMOOK COUNTY EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT: Gordon’s Update – Weather & Fire Season 7/8/21

By Gordon McCraw, Tillamook County Emergency Manager

Thursday, July 8, 2021, 9:30am


We have another weak upper level low pressure area moving eastward across Washington today that is enhancing the westerly flow.  This has thickened the marine clouds which have poured across the Coast Range and pushed east through the valley, all the way to the foot of the Cascades. This means, just like the last few days, the clouds will slowly burn back this morning leaving a mostly sunny afternoon with winds becoming northwesterly 5-10 gusting to 18, the afternoon high near 66.  The low will continue to move out of the area to the northeast as a ridge of high pressure builds in tonight leaving us with partly cloudy skies, light winds, and a low near 52.

With the ridge continuing to build tomorrow so we see sunny skies, afternoon winds becoming westerly 5-10 gusting to 20, highs near 71. With the typical summer pattern, the marine clouds return tomorrow night though not as thick as the past few days, calm winds, lows near 54.

And the dry, summertime pattern continues through the weekend with mostly sunny to sunny skies, breezy afternoon winds, highs near 70, then partly cloudy nights, light winds, lows near 52.

The mostly sunny days and partly cloudy nights remain for at least the first half of next week, highs still around 70, lows around 54.


Fire Season Ramping Up

A look at the current satellite picture verifies, we are already deep into fire season. With the clear skies over most of west coast west of the Rockies, you can clearly see the smoke billowing up from the fires in Washington, Oregon, California and even Idaho. Currently there are reported to be 29 fires of various sizes in Oregon. The thickest and densest smoke is from the largest fire located in southern Oregon, the Bootleg Fire, which is currently reported to be 16,814 acres. This fire has caused Level 1 and Level 2 evacuation orders to the northeast of the fire. The hot, dry, and windy conditions have caused the fire to grow rapidly since it was first reported on Tuesday afternoon.  The cause is still under investigation.

As a result of the very dry conditions and the hot weather, many areas have already enacted fire restrictions. As these change daily, it is best to check with the local fire districts including with BLM and ODF before you go to see what, and what is not allowed including at campsites. Most fires are human caused so thus, could have been prevented.

Locally, the Tillamook County Fire Defense Board in conjunction with the Oregon Department of Forestry will enter into a countywide total burn ban of all burning, including burn barrels and all open debris pile burning, on July 15, 2021. Residents are encouraged to plan ahead and safely complete all burning prior to the ban.

The ban does not include permitted campfires, and campfires in designated sites.

Campfires on the beach must be at least 50 feet away from vegetation, and any driftwood concentrations.

They also offered the follow advice:

  • Never leave your fire unattended.
  • When burning debris, always have a hose and shovel at the fire to prevent the fire from spreading.
  • Check with your local fire protection agency prior to burning.  (Most Rural Fire Protection Districts require a burn permit year-round.)
  • If camping, ensure your campfire is in a designated area.
  • Always make sure your campfire is out cold before leaving.
  • On the beach, keep your campfire far from beach grass and driftwood piles.