Winter-Like Weather Not Enough to Help Numerous Wildfires in the West


The unseasonable winter weather that is falling over parts of the western and central US brought hope toward quelling wildfires in the west, but forecasters say the benefits from the weather will be minimal.

On Wednesday, most of the west will be dry and warm, with temperatures forecast to increase throughout the week.

In the few places where snow, mixed precipitation, and rain is falling, forecasters say the winter-like weather will, at best, give firefighting efforts a short-lived benefit.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, while one of the biggest worries for people has been “I need a job,” the wildfires have now reset their priorities to that of immediate survival.

Unprecedented fires on the West Coast

Thousands of acres are burning in Oregon, California, and Washington. Over 85 fires are burning across the West Coast, CNN reports, with at least 40 of these being large fires.

In California alone, at least 25 wildfires continue to rage, getting a boost from extreme heat over the weekend and powerful winds.

In Oregon, thousands of people have evacuated their homes. Oregon’s Governor Kate browned declared an emergency.

In Washington, at least 100,000 people were without electricity across the state on Tuesday.

80 percent of Washington town destroyed

Washington’s governor said over 330,000 acres in the state have been burned.

In one of the most devastating effects of the fires in Washington, in Malden, roughly 80 percent of homes and public infrastructure in the town were destroyed, including its fire station, post office, city hall, and library, authorities said, WSVN reported.

Thousands evacuated, state of emergency in Oregon

Fire officials in Oregon say they have never seen conditions like those they are facing now. On Tuesday, thousands of people in the state were ordered to evacuate their homes.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown declared an emergency, invoking the Emergency Conflagration act, mobilizing the Oregon Office of State Fire Marshal to assist local agencies, OPB reported.

In addition, the Oregon Department of Corrections evacuated 1,450 inmates from three prisons because of the wildfire threat.

Winter weather in Colorado not likely to put out fires

In Colorado, many parts of the state saw snowfall. The Cameron Peak Fire has received about 5 inches of “heavy, wet snow,” the Coloradoan reported.

The forecast calls for the area receiving up to 12 inches or more by the time the system moves out on late Tuesday, but a fire spokesperson said, while the snowfall will dampen the fire, it will not be enough to end it, and a series of similar events would be needed to “put this thing out.”