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Cooler weather ahead this week

National Weather Service says temperatures will drop across the region this week.

High temperatures Wednesday through Friday are forecast to be nearly 20 degrees cooler in Southern Oregon than Monday’s high in the low 80s, according to the National Weather Service.

A sizable area of high pressure was over the area Monday, bringing warm weather, but a cooling front moved through Tuesday morning, said National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Smith.

High temperatures in the low 60s are expected through Friday, Smith said. That’s about 10 to 15 degrees below normal for this time of year.

“Temperatures will slowly start to rebound by the weekend,” Smith said, adding it will jump back up to mid-70s, right in the normal range, Saturday and Sunday.

There’s a slight chance of rain Wednesday and Thursday for parts of southwest Oregon, Smith added.

Oregon Department of Forestry officials have their fingers crossed for some wet weather, which could make a world of difference in the number of potential holdover fires that pop up following recent lightning that resulted in several smoke reports and a small fire in northeastern Jackson County.

“It probably won’t be too significant, because our area isn’t forecast to get a huge amount of rain, but anything really helps,” said Natalie Weber, public information officer for ODF’s southwest division. “We’re going to continue to monitor that area for a couple weeks, regardless of the conditions, just to make sure we don’t have anything that starts. Even if we get into next week and warm up again, it could still be an issue.”

ODF declared fire season last week on the 1.8 million acres the agency protects in Jackson and Josephine counties. The declaration comes with a ban on debris burning until the season ends, but fire officials frequently see burns when it gets cooler, despite the ban. Such violations can result in fines.

“We really just want to remind people of that,” Weber said. “We can have fires that start and spread right now. Conditions are still really dry. The fuels are still really dry.”

Reach Mail Tribune web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanpfeil.