Snow in mountains, rain in the valleys still not enough to extinguish fires

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A stormy weekend dropped snow in the mountains, rain in the valleys and blew away all the smoke.

But, fire conditions haven’t changed much.

The first dusting of snow is always a beautiful time of year but it is just a few inches and it likely will melt off. We are still in fire season.

“We were closed both Saturday and Sunday due to high winds, low visibility and snow from the top of the mountain all the way down to the base lodge,” said Leigh Capozzi, Mount Bachelor brand and marketing director.

Mount Bachelor resumed scenic chairlift rides, zip line adventures and disc golf on Monday.

Downhill mountain biking will resume as soon as the trails are clear of snow.

On Monday, most people came to gawk at the snow.

“It was cold for us. In Florida it’s still 90 degrees so for us it was quite an adjustment,” said Michael and Barbara from Tampa, Florida.

Eddie Kula of Bend hiked up Tumalo Mountain.

“It’s a beautiful day today especially after all the smoke. There’s a little bit of snow up there, about 3 inches. Not a lot of people. I highly recommend it.”

Fire restrictions eased a little with the recent moisture.

Campfires are again allowed in designated, developed campgrounds on the Deschutes and Ochoco National Forests, Crooked River National Grasslands and Prineville District BLM.

Industrial fire precautions dropped to Level 2 which means commercial operators still must shut down by 2 pm and post a fire watch.

“The fuels that did receive moisture are generally the finer fuels, things that dry out quickly. It’s only a matter of days,” said Boone Zimmerlee, Project Wildfire Coordinator for Deschutes County. “A few windy days, a few days of sun and we’ll be right back to the same conditions we were at just a week ago.”

The Middle Fork and Bull fire complexes that shared their smoke the past few weeks received up to 3 inches of rain but not enough to extinguish the fires.

Fire bosses say fire activity and smoke will increase with warmer weather.

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