Eagle Creek Fire Soil Burn Maps

I’ll be talking about these maps on the evening newscasts but want to get it online as well.  The Eagle Creek Fire “Burn Area Emergency Response Team” has released a survey of fire impacts to the vegetation & soil in the Gorge.  The results are contained in a large map here:


I’ve zoomed in on several areas so you can take a close look at your favorite hiking destinations or routes.  Of course you would probably like a legend to go with the map…

Fire Eagle Creek Soil Damage Explain

This from the BAER folks:

High burn severity is indicated by the burning of all or nearly all of the ground cover and surface organic matter (leaves, needles, and decaying plant matter), including fine roots. Moderate burn severity has consumption of up to 80% of the ground cover. In areas with low burn severity, much of the organic matter on the surface is not fully burned and roots are generally intact.

The higher the burn severity is, the less likely the soil is able to absorb water from rainfall and snow melt. Severely damaged soils will produce more and faster water runoff. They are also more prone to erosion and landslides


Fire Eagle Creek Soil Damage Maps

Fire Eagle Creek Soil Damage Maps2

Fire Eagle Creek Soil Damage Maps3

Fire Eagle Creek Soil Damage Maps4

I notice a few things…real intense burn around Franklin Ridge & Oneonta Gorge.  But much of the far western edge of the fire was in the low to very low category otherwise.  But check out the red throughout the Tanner & Eagle Creek canyons.  That’s pretty bad and in that area the fire moved many miles south of the Gorge.  Once you get to the eastern end of the fire from Herman Creek to Mt. Defiance the intensity was lower again.  This may be because this area burned last, just before the heavy rain finished off the fire.  Temperatures were a bit cooler and westerly wind generally brings a bit higher humidity; that can possibly reduce fire intensity.

I took a drive through the Gorge (as far as Cascade Locks) last weekend and again yesterday.  After seeing video of the fire on the 4th and 5th one would think there would be almost nothing left.  That is most definitely not the case.  It looks the same as it did before; just a little…different.  I’ve got 3 observations for you:

1) Lots of burned brush below mainly green fir trees…this is a common sight.  Some of that tree bark is black a good 20 feet up.  That will be a reminder of the fire for a few decades to come.  In these areas new greenery will pop up by next April/May.

2) On many of the high ridges you can see burned trees without the needles so the forest up there looks a little “thin”.

3) Nowhere did I see a totally bare landscape, except the upper part of Angel’s Rest with just a few “toothpick” trees sticking up.  Remember that’s one spot that burned over in the 1991 Falls Fire too.  Once the trail opens up there will be even more views to appreciate.

Chief Meteorologist Mark Nelsen

17 Responses to Eagle Creek Fire Soil Burn Maps

  1. Joshua Downtown PDX says:

    Atmospheric river incoming for the middle to end of next week. Looking like another wet October despite the dry start.

  2. Low of 39˚F overnight, first sub-40˚F low of the season. Yesterday’s high made it only to 50˚F despite being sunny and dry. Fall is definitely here. Going on an overnight camping/mushrooming trip this afternoon; will be bringing lots of warm blankets.

  3. Brian in Leavenworth says:

    Hello, I posted a few weeks ago about https://weather.us and that it has the ECMWF in great detail (I don’t know how complete it is, but way better than anything free then has ever been available). I just got an update from facebook from them, they are saying that they will continue to add maps, courtesy of Dr. Ryan Maeu, formerly of weatherbell, who seems to be the kind of weather maps. They will be adding incremental snowfall maps, where as of now it Is just the total accumulated snowfall maps.

    Anyway, you can see so many parameters for the Euro there, and it even lets you zoom into your location or county, as opposed to a larger regional map, and it goes by every 3 hours. It also has charts (instead of graphs for now) for the ECMWF ensemble for any location for 15 days. You all need to bookmark this page, and hopefully Mark can link this on his weather model page. Gone are the days where us weather weenies only had a few basic Euro maps at only 24 hour increments.  

    • Boydo3 N. Albany says:

      Checked it out and it does look like a cool site. Added it to my bookmarked list of the other hundred or so weather related sites already in my favorites.

  4. Nahtalkin says:

    I see the computer generated weather graphics are stuck a wee bit and starting to bounce in a tad bit. Does anyone have virtual lubricant for the weather team? It must be our damp weather, as the graphics tend to bounce and stick this time of year. What a strange, virtual reality time we live in. Impossible to watch football games on TV anymore with all the augmented graphic crap out there. I’ve got trees to hug, later dudes.

  5. pappoose in scappoose says:

    Message Date: Oct 07 2017 02:56:19

    Dopper Radar KRTX, serving SW Washington and NW Oregon was returned to service several hours ago. So far, so good.

  6. W7ENK says:

    Beautiful October sunrise this morning over Downtown.

    Looking North from the Tillikum Bridge.

    Looking North from my office.

    Looking West into downtown from my office.

    Feel free to use these on air, Mark. I can send you the full res photos if you’d like? Credit given, of course. 🙂

  7. JERAT416 says:

    Are there any estimates as to when anything will open back up?

  8. High Desert Mat says:

    First in a long line of firsts to come!!

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