EUGENE, Ore. - As fires sparked by last week's lightning continue to rage out of control, forecasters say Mother Nature is set to serve up a fresh batch of dry lightning storms.
The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the Cascades and Central Oregon from the Columbia River Gorge south to the California border.
A red flag warning means conditions are prime for new wildfire ignitions and rapid spread.
"Increasingly dry forest fuels will be receptive to new fire starts due to lightning," forecasters said. "An unstable air mass and gusty outflow winds may hinder initial attack efforts on these new fire starts. Lightning is always dangerous by nature. Along with gusty and erratic outflow winds these thunderstorms will pose a hazard to firefighters out in the field."
The risk may ease some as the week goes on, but "may" is the operative term.
"An upper level low pressure system off the Oregon Coast will push a series of disturbances into Oregon tonight through Thursday, likely triggering thunderstorms across portions of Western Oregon and Southwest Washington," forecasters said Tuesday. "Since these thunderstorms will be high-based, it is likely many of them will fail to produce appreciable rainfall - but they will likely be prolific lightning producers."
Forecasters said there will be a better chance for some rain along with the thunderstorms as the upper level low moves onshore into Oregon Wednesday night and Thursday.