PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — While wildfires and heatwaves are nothing new for the region, officials warn that what could make next week’s heat more dangerous is the lack of reprieve we could see at night.
Local officials are urging residents to have a plan to keep cool ahead of Sunday and to be mindful of anything that could spark a fire.
“These temperatures in excess of 100 degrees and with possible winds is pretty concerning that any spark could get up and create a fire,” said John Hendricks, Oregon State Fire Marshal public affairs specialist.
“We’re going to have temperatures in the 90s into the 100s, and lows that are going to be in the 70s. So, we’re not going to get any relief during the nighttime hours. So, what we want to make sure people know to do is make a plan to ensure that they’re prepared for this,” added Jeff Martin, Multnomah County environmental health manager.
With possible triple-digit temperatures on Sunday, Martin says people should know the signs of heat-related illness, such as nausea, vomiting, headache, a fast heartbeat and shallow breathing. He recommends residents to stay hydrated, reduce exposure to the heat and use AC if possible – as well as look after pets, kids, and vulnerable neighbors.
“A lot of people may be isolated over the next couple of days and so we want to make sure that people are checking with them on a routine basis, not just one time and then moving on. We want to make sure that they’re checking on them daily to ensure that they’re healthy and safe.”
In anticipation of the heat wave, TriMet says Max lines could be delayed, as the rails can reach temperatures up to 30 degrees hotter than the actual temperature.
While the county has not yet opened cooling shelters, officials say that could change with the forecast. Libraries, misting stations and splash pads are also available for those looking to beat the heat.
But health concerns aren’t the only potential threat this weekend. With red flag warnings in effect and several wildfires still burning west of the Cascades, the Oregon State Fire Marshal says they are pre-positioning two task forces in Lane County starting Saturday afternoon.
Although the agency says they’ve been able to hire nearly 400 seasonal firefighters thanks to increased state funding, they are urging residents to do their part in helping keep the state green by adhering to local burn bans and being extra vigilant when monitoring fires and their surroundings.
“Mother nature can throw us some curveballs with lightning and winds and heat and different things like that. We can respond to those fires. But one thing that we can control in all of this is preventing those human-caused fires. So, we’re really asking folks to be mindful of the conditions and really pay attention and help us out,” Hendricks said.