The Clark County Fire Marshal’s Office believes that a group of four people lighting fireworks during the recent abnormally hot and dry weather may have caused the fire in southwest Washington that is now blanketing the Portland region in smoke.
Assistant Fire Marshal Curtis Eavenson has said that he is seeking for a white or light-colored Subaru and two males and two women “associated with this car” who were using “some type of pyrotechnic” in the vicinity on October 9, the day the fire began.
The video was taken by a cell phone and sent to the marshal. It shows the car sitting in the woods with the rear hatch open. The audio records a powerful explosion. The shot shifts to the left, where smoke is seen billowing over the forest canopy. The marshal requests that the public watch the footage and images. The marshal claimed they were shot at around 3:00 pm on a ridge close to where the Nakia Creek fire is located on Larch Mountain, Washington.
Eavenson specifically targeted “certain individuals” for further communication.
About nine miles to the northeast of Camas, a fire called the Nakia Creek Fire has burnt 1,800 acres. In the Pacific Northwest, where this late-season fire is taking place, temperatures have reached levels not seen in October. KPTV meteorologist Jeff Forgeron reports that temperatures have reached the 80s at Portland International Airport a dozen times this month.
Smoke from the Nakia Creek fire is being held between the Coast Range and the Cascades by an overnight temperature inversion, making Portland’s air quality worse than Seattle’s.
The National Weather Service reports that, contrary to the region’s typical wetness and raininess at this time, California-like dryness has settled across the Pacific Northwest. For the first 17 days of October, no precipitation was recorded at all of the agency’s inland monitoring sites, an occurrence that has occurred just once since 1940. (in 1987). In that time period, the average temperature at PDX was 66.7 degrees, which was “a startling 4.3 degrees higher than the preceding hottest Oct 1-17,” as reported by the National Weather Service.
According to the National Weather Service, the scorching temperatures are the result of a high pressure ridge that has remained stationary over the Pacific Northwest and is preventing the seasonal influx of Pacific storms. Recent weather in the Pacific Northwest has been characterized by the ridge. In 2013, it survived so long that it was given its own moniker: the Ridiculously Resilient Ridge. UCLA climate scientist Dr. Daniel Swain developed the word on his California weather blog and attributed it to the state’s extreme drought that year.
The ridge is predicted to break this weekend, bringing much-needed relief.
The National Weather Service predicts “a significant change in our weather pattern will start Thursday when the mean upper ridge position retrogrades westward, deep into the Pacific.” At that point, a huge cold front will sweep in from the Gulf of Alaska, dumping rain on the Northwest and bringing temperatures back down to normal seasonal levels. Saturday should reach a high of 58 degrees.