LAKEVIEW, Ore. – Since last Tuesday there have been more than 4,500 lightning strikes on the Fremont-Winema National Forest. This is not counting the thunderstorms over Memorial Day weekend.
While the storms were generally cold and wet, it is likely that there are fires smoldering in the forest. As conditions dry out this week and temperatures warm up, it is likely smokes from lightning fires will become visible in the coming days.
From the series of storms over the past couple weeks, only three lightning fires have been discovered on the Forest so far – one each on the Chemult, Chiloquin and Lakeview Ranger Districts. All three fires are burning in remote parts of the Forest.
However, all five agencies of the South Central Oregon Fire Management Partnership (SCOFMP) area, including the Fremont-Winema National Forest, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Lakeview District, Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), Sheldon-Hart Mountain and Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complexes and Crater Lake National Park, were impacted by the recent storms and thousands of lightning strikes.
A lightning fire was confirmed on BLM land Sunday. Two fires discovered on ODF lands in recent days are under investigation.
Weather forecasts are indicating more thunderstorms and cold weather late this week and into the weekend, followed by warmer and drier weather next week. Firefighters are prepared to address any wildfires discovered in the coming weeks.
Area residents and visitors can report suspected wildfires by calling the Lakeview Interagency Fire Center at 541-947-6315.
Even though there is still snowpack and the weather has been cold and wet in recent weeks, fire season is rapidly approaching. Forest visitors are asked to be careful with fire and anything that can throw a spark.
Campfires should never be left unattended and should be dead out before leaving. This means drowned with water, stirred and be cold to the touch with no warm spots.