Drought eases, but still persists

By on Tuesday, March 15th, 2022 in Columbia Basin News More Top Stories

PENDLETON – While drought conditions are easing somewhat in the region, National Weather Service Hydrologist Marilyn Lohmann said it will take a lot more than a few days of rain and some mountain snow to end the dry conditions. The region was pushed deeper into arid conditions due to an extremely dry April and May 2021.

“Hopefully we don’t see that pattern develop again,” she said. “That was just so devastating for the whole northwest.”

Because La Nina conditions still exist, it means that near to below normal precipitation is anticipated in April and May.

“I hate to see that near to below normal precipitation looming out there,” she said. “Maybe we’ll break that trend.”

Drought conditions make wildfires more likely. East Umatilla Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Baty said property owners must take precautions.

East Umatilla Fire & Rescue Chief Dave Baty said it’s vital that people create a defensible space around their homes.

“You don’t want to give the fire a path to your house,” he said. “The fire is just looking for fuel, and your house is fuel.”

Baty said keeping flammable bushes and trees away from the home is important, but there’s even more to consider.

“Don’t put ashes from your fireplace or your woodstove in a bag on your porch,” he said. “Put them in a metal receptacle and move them away from your house and wait two or three days. If you can’t wait, then douse them with water.”