Banks, Fire, Weather

Red Flag Warnings, Excessive Heat Warning and Advisory for region this weekend

Fire crews at the Mosier Creek Fire. Photo: Banks Fire District

BANKS – The weather is expected to be hot this weekend, and there are Red Flag warnings, excessive heat advisories and excessive heat warnings depending on where in the region you live beginning at various times throughout the weekend. 

Check the detailed map at www.wrh.noaa.gov/map to see where your location falls in the list of hazardous conditions, as currently, our newspaper’s service territory is sliced into differing warnings and advisories depending on location, especially as one gets closer to the Coast Range. 

For all of NW Oregon, a Red Flag Warning has been issued beginning Friday, August 14 at 11 a.m. and extending to 11 p.m. that day, and again on Saturday at 11 a.m. through Sunday at 11 p.m.

High temperatures nearing 100 degrees Fahrenheit, low humidity, and dry winds all were factors in determining this weekend’s Red Flag Warning. 

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A Red Flag warning means, according to the National Weather Service, that “critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now, or will shortly.”

According to Oregon Department of Forestry meteorologist Pete Parsons, there’s also a chance that dry thunderstorms could spread across Oregon on Sunday, though he expects them to stay mostly east of the Cascades. 

An excessive heat warning was issued for much of the Banks area beginning Saturday at noon, while those in Timber at at higher elevations will see an excessive heat advisory. The difference between the two means that the danger of health issues from higher temperatures is slightly lower under an advisory than under a warning, but still a concern. 

The NWS issued a series of steps to take to protect from dangerously high temperature, including the following: 

-Drink plenty of fluids

-Stay in an air-conditioned room

-Stay out of the sun

-Check up on relatives and neighbors. 

-Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

“Take extra precautions if you work or spend time outside. When possible reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightweight and loose fitting clothing when possible. To reduce risk during outdoor work, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency! Call 911,” the heat warning said.

Fire danger was moved to ‘High’ this morning for the Tillamook State Forest and surrounding regions in western Washington and much of Tillamook Counties. 

Forest Grove Fire & Rescue put out a series of tips to reduce the chance of fires:

1. Limit your outdoor power tool use to only the early morning hours, when the dew is still up. This means get your mowing and weed eating done early, and to not do any cutting or welding outside in the heat of the day.

2. Soak those old burn piles one more time! This is so important, as old burn piles are one of our biggest cause of summer wildfires.

3. Only have campfires in designated spaces, this is especially important if you are exploring the forests west of here.

4. Pick up any broken glass around your property – believe it or not – even little pieces of broken glass can create a fire if the sun hits it just right.

5. Do not park on grassy areas, as your vehicle’s exhaust parts can remain hot enough to catch grass on fire even after you shut your engine off.  

6. Do not block gates if you do head out and look for fun and adventure in the woods.  

7. Watch where you target shoot, do not shoot into stumps or logs right now, and give the entire area a thorough look after you’re done to make sure nothing has flared up. Exploding targets shouldn’t be used right now.  

8. Be ready, think about your fire escape plan if you live with the woods in your backyard. What would you take with you, and how quickly could you get to it, if an evacuation order came right now?

Banks Fire District crew heads to the Gorge to fight growing wildfire

A growing, human-caused wildfire burning near the town of Mosier has drawn the help of fire agencies from around the state, including Banks Fire District, which sent Brush Rig 13 as part of Washington County Task Force #2. Also on the team are crews from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue, Hillsboro Fire Department, and the Cornelius Fire Department, which sent a water tender and two firefighters to the fire, according to spokesperson Dave Nemeyer.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the fire has threatened at least 300 homes in the area, prompting mandatory and voluntary evacuations.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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