Oregons Taylor Creek and Klondike Fires, August 2018.
Oregon's Taylor Creek and Klondike Fires, August 2018. U.S. Forest Service - Pacific NW
Oregon's first notable wildfire of 2019 is currently burning. Yesterday, it was still officially winter.

Support The Portland Mercury

The Santiam Park Fire started yesterday at the North Santiam State Recreation Area, a fishing and camping spot located to the south of Highway 22, just southeast of Silver Falls State Park and near the towns of Lyons and Mill City. As of 8:45 this morning, the Statesman-Journal reported that the fire had reached 60 acres; it jumped across the river last night and provoked some level 3 evacuation orders, although this morning those levels dropped to level 2 ("Be Set"). Per the Oregonian, the Oregon Department of Forestry says that the fire's size may grow after an accurate map has been drawn.

While the warmer-than-normal weather has been a relief after a particularly cold and snowy February, it's alarming that the year's first significant wildfire arrived so early. Last year, the first wildfires that burned more than 1,000 acres didn't come until June 21—the huge Boxcar Fire in Wasco County, and the smaller Graham Fire in Jefferson County each started on that date and burned through the first week of July. Although the Santiam Park Fire is nowhere near that size (most recent reporting puts the level of containment at 20 percent), it's an unhappy reminder that the Western US is increasingly vulnerable to serious wildfire damage, with Oregon especially prone to serious events.

In related news: Last week, the president of the United States (who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 votes) tweeted this catfish-brained baby-babble lunacy.