Forecasters: Oregon faces 'explosive fire growth potential'

Forecasters: Oregon faces 'explosive fire growth potential'
The National Weather Service placed all of Oregon under a Red Flag Warning this week, as shown in this screengrab from http://www.weather.gov/

EUGENE, Ore. - The entire state of Oregon faces critical fire weather this week, the National Weather Service said.

A Red Flag warning was in effect Monday for Oregon, from border to border.

"A Red Flag warning means that critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly," according to the National Weather Service. "A combination of strong winds, low relative humidity and warm temperatures will create explosive fire growth potential."

State and federal firefighters were already hard at work Monday chasing down new ignitions sparked by Sunday night's lightning.

More lightning is on the way Monday.

"Dry thunderstorms are expected in most of our area today through early tomorrow morning," the National Weather Service in Medford said Monday. "Any lightning strikes will have the potential to start new wildfires. There have been a few isolated lightning strikes in Modoc and Lake counties this morning. The system driving these storms will move towards the northwest this afternoon and evening, thus storms will develop farther west and north as the day goes on and into the night."

The lightning comes amidst unseasonably hot, dry condtiions.

"We’re expecting another hot day today, with temperatures in the 90s to near 100 in our northern counties of Oregon and southwest Washington," the Portland office of the National Weather Service said. "Early this afternoon thunderstorms are expected to develop over our southern counties and progress northward and increase in coverage through the afternoon. Some of these storms could produce gusty winds and/or hail. A second impulse will move into our area late tonight, generating another wave of thunderstorms overnight tonight."