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MEDFORD, Ore. — The latest report from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) shows "significant large fire potential" for southern Oregon and northern California through the end of summer.
"Above normal significant large fire potential, indicated on the NIFC maps by the color red, begins to develop this month in southwest Oregon and northern California," the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) said in a summary of the NIFC report. "By July, August and September, almost the entire Pacific Northwest is covered in red. Only the northwest tip of Oregon and western Washington remain normal all summer long."
According to the BLM, almost 80 percent of Oregon is currently experiencing some level of drought conditions. Much of western Oregon is classified in "severe or extreme" drought.
"It did rain a lot in May across the Pacific Northwest. That helped moisten grasses, shrubs and other plants that are considered as fuels for fires, according to the NIFC report," BLM said. "Overall, though, snowpack melting accelerated last month, meaning it could be entirely gone well before the expected hot summer begins."
The NIFC report found that most areas on the West Coast got less than 25 percent of average precipitation in May, although areas of northern California did see significant rainfall by the end of the month.