Here Comes The Sun: How To Prepare And Stay Safe As Temps Rise And Fire Danger Heats Up

A heat wave is about the descend onto much of the Northwest, and the National Weather Service is giving out tips for how to manage and stay safe. CREDIT: National Weather Service
A heat wave is about the descend onto much of the Northwest, and the National Weather Service is giving out tips for how to manage and stay safe. CREDIT: National Weather Service

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BY CONNOR HENRICKSEN, THOM KOKENGE & COURTNEY FLATT

A major heat wave is hitting the Northwest. Heat and its long-term effects kills more people in the U.S. than any other weather-related issue.

Now is the time to prepare. Here are some steps you can take to get ready:

-Stock water in your fridge;

-If you have air conditioning, make sure it is working correctly;

-Plan to eat cool foods; lots of fruits and vegetables like watermelon and cucumber;

-Weather-strip doors and windows, and add insulation to keep the heat out;

-Learn to recognize the signs of heat illness;

Once the heat wave hits, here’s what you can do to get through it safely:

-Cover windows with drapes or shades, even improvised ones like blankets or cardboard panels covered in foil;

-During the day, keep lights low or off inside your home;

-Eat smaller meals more often;

-Drink plenty of water even if you don’t feel thirsty and avoid alcohol or caffeine;

-Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing;

-Stay on the lowest floor out of the sunshine, especially if air conditioning is not available;

-Check on family, friends, neighbors, and pets;

-Avoid strenuous activity and limit your time outdoors;

-If you have to be outdoors, use a buddy system and take frequent breaks;

-Never leave pets or children in a vehicle;

Always a concern: Fire danger

If you’re heading out of the air conditioning and into the great outdoors this weekend, fire managers are asking you to be careful to not start a fire.

Extreme heat, coupled with very dry conditions, could mean any fires will get out of hand quickly. Ryan Rodruck is a spokesperson for Washington’s Department of Natural Resources.

“Exercise an abundance of caution,” warns Ryan Rodruck with the Washington Department of Natural Resources. “It is going to be really, really hot. It is going to be really, really dry. The fire danger is going to be very present for recreation.”

Rodruck says burn restrictions are in place for the majority of the state. Starting Friday, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife is restricting activities that could start fires in eastern Washington, including campfires, smoking and target practice on acres it manages.

On other lands, campfires may only be built in fire rings at campsites. But at Washington State Parks east of the Cascades, all wood and charcoal fires are now banned. Check regulations for federal national forest land before you go. Thoroughly drown all fires once they’re ready to be put out.

As to what to do when you’re driving to the trailhead or just generally out and about: Don’t park on tall grasses. The heat from your car can ignite a fire. And don’t tow any equipment with chains that drag on the pavement, which can create sparks.

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