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Old 01-26-2021, 11:37 PM
 
Location: Northern California
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I'm wondering what residents of Eugene / Corvallis / Albany / Salem are expecting in future fire seasons.
Have there been scientific opinions on whether the huge wildfires and hazardous air of 2020 is likely to
become the new normal? If so, have you thought about what to do -- stay inside and run an air purifier?
Go stay with relatives elsewhere?

Last edited by NW4me; 01-26-2021 at 11:46 PM..
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:01 AM
 
Location: North Idaho
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Yes, There are absolutely going to be more fires and smoke every year.
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Old 01-27-2021, 11:30 AM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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I disagree with OWS. I don't think that the wildfires we saw impact the valley will be the new normal. Those winds have happened before and they happen a couple of times every century. So will it happen again? Yes at some point, but it won't be the new normal.

There are wildfires in the Jefferson Wilderness all the time. Those aren't new. What was different was the gusting winds going in the opposite direction. It toppled trees/power lines which is what sparked the fires near Detroit. They have to rebuild those areas so I am sure they will look at infrastructure in that process.

Oregon in general has already seen an increase in fires every year, especially southern and eastern Oregon, but I don't think the valley is going to have regular fires that impact the cities.
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Old 01-27-2021, 12:37 PM
 
Location: Oregon Coast
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
I disagree with OWS. I don't think that the wildfires we saw impact the valley will be the new normal. Those winds have happened before and they happen a couple of times every century. So will it happen again? Yes at some point, but it won't be the new normal.

There are wildfires in the Jefferson Wilderness all the time. Those aren't new. What was different was the gusting winds going in the opposite direction. It toppled trees/power lines which is what sparked the fires near Detroit. They have to rebuild those areas so I am sure they will look at infrastructure in that process.

Oregon in general has already seen an increase in fires every year, especially southern and eastern Oregon, but I don't think the valley is going to have regular fires that impact the cities.
I dunno. Non stop smoke and wild fires in the dry season, seems to be the trend. What is it, about four years in a row now? I suppose at some point the fire threat will start to decrease once all of the available forest land has been burned. I do think it is a real problem. I have talked to life long Oregonians who say they have never seen anything like this.
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Old 01-27-2021, 02:29 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cloudy Dayz View Post
I dunno. Non stop smoke and wild fires in the dry season, seems to be the trend. What is it, about four years in a row now? I suppose at some point the fire threat will start to decrease once all of the available forest land has been burned. I do think it is a real problem. I have talked to life long Oregonians who say they have never seen anything like this.
That isn't true for Salem. I've lived here for 21 years and 2020 was the first time we had a smoke hazard.

I do agree with you for other parts of Oregon, but the OP is specifically asking about the valley. Eugene has always had much worse air quality/smoke issues than Salem because of the convergence of the ranges, but Albany, Corvallis and Salem, not so much. I don't think it will be the new normal here in Salem.
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Old 01-27-2021, 03:21 PM
 
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It wasn't just the wind that made this year's fire events so extreme; lack of rainfall and overall warmer temps played a huge role as well. Salem isn't immune, and climate scientists seem to agree with woodsmoke and cloudy that dry conditions on the western slope of the Cascades will continue going forward.
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Old 01-30-2021, 09:12 PM
 
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If present trends continue, we will see a longer, hotter and drier dry season. Our wet season may not be much, if any drier, but the precipitation we get will fall during a shorter portion of the year. And it will be rain at higher elevations. Where it does snow the snowpack will melt sooner and quicker.
All that will drop our fuel moisture numbers to near zero and if you want to avoid wildfires that won't help.
So...The answer I come up with is "yes", we will see increasing wildfires and even if we do end up burning out all our Douglas Fir forests, they will be replaced with more drought tolerant trees like juniper, Ponderosa Pine where it has difficulty growing today and stuff like Gray and Sugar pines that are popular in some of the drier spots in southwestern Oregon now. Those forests will burn just as nicely as the fir and cedar forests are now.
Not to ruin your afternoons completely...Again, IF present trends continue to some kind of conclusion, we will also see entire climate zones shift northward. Should that happen (and I don't think they will all that much), we could see the kind of vegetation common in the hot-summer Mediterranean Climates that have made California such an attractive place to live - until recently. If we get that, look for it to be a permanent change as far as our lifetimes and those of our children are concerned.
The common trees there will be more species of live and deciduous oaks, Grey and Coulter Pines and in the wetter portions, the drought tolerant pines found in places here. Add to all that the oil rich Chaparral vegetation that will burn just dandy. Don't look for relief here.
We probably won't get the kind of wildfire season we got last summer and fall every year or even as frequently as every other or third year but I see a future where such massive burns will be a more frequent thing.
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Old 01-31-2021, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
It wasn't just the wind that made this year's fire events so extreme; lack of rainfall and overall warmer temps played a huge role as well. Salem isn't immune, and climate scientists seem to agree with woodsmoke and cloudy that dry conditions on the western slope of the Cascades will continue going forward.
I've read that by 2080 we will be more like today's Santa Rosa or Sacramento climate-wise. Santa Rosa gets more rain than Sacramento. I don't disagree that the climate is changing and we will have more wildfires. I disagree that they will be like the one this past year as the new normal here in the mid-valley.

I don't think those fires will be the new normal. Maybe in 80 years they will be, but not right now.
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Old 01-31-2021, 03:07 PM
 
22,415 posts, read 29,778,007 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silverfall View Post
I've read that by 2080 we will be more like today's Santa Rosa or Sacramento climate-wise. Santa Rosa gets more rain than Sacramento. I don't disagree that the climate is changing and we will have more wildfires. I disagree that they will be like the one this past year as the new normal here in the mid-valley.

I don't think those fires will be the new normal. Maybe in 80 years they will be, but not right now.
I don't believe I made any such claim. I said conditions are getting hotter and drier and that scientists agree. Again, I said nothing about the fire event of last year becoming a "new normal."

There is a difference between saying that conditions will likely be getting hotter and drier going forward and saying that every year is going to be like 2020.

Last edited by Metlakatla; 01-31-2021 at 03:30 PM..
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Old 01-31-2021, 04:13 PM
 
Location: Salem, OR
14,700 posts, read 35,576,072 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Metlakatla View Post
I don't believe I made any such claim. I said conditions are getting hotter and drier and that scientists agree. Again, I said nothing about the fire event of last year becoming a "new normal."

There is a difference between saying that conditions will likely be getting hotter and drier going forward and saying that every year is going to be like 2020.
But that is what the OP was asking. If this (the wildfires of 2020) will be the new normal.

OWS said yes and CD seemed to concur that the wildfire we had last year was going to be happening again. I took your comment to support their response to the OP's question. If that isn't what you were saying, then we probably agree.

The wildfires of 2020 will not be the new normal for the mid-valley, but there will be increasing fire risk as the climate changes.
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