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Regional Interests

Fire danger rising this week as some parts of Oregon near triple-digit temperatures

A sign outside a Bend Fire Department station in Bend, Ore., lists fire danger as "moderate" Saturday, May 29, 2021.
A sign outside a Bend Fire Department station in Bend, Ore., lists fire danger as "moderate" Saturday, May 29, 2021.

Temperatures are expected to climb across Oregon through the Memorial Day weekend and into the following week.

Southern Oregon is preparing for highs potentially exceeding 100 degrees. That’s not the earliest triple digits have been recorded at the Medford Airport, but it’s about a month earlier than normal.

National Weather Service meteorologist Miles Bliss said temperatures will likely peak Tuesday, followed by a slight cooldown starting Wednesday.

“We stand to break a few records potentially,” Bliss said.

Temperatures are also likely to be in the low- to mid-90s across much of the state, including the Portland metro area. The forecast calls for slightly hotter temperatures in Bend and Central Oregon.

The short heat wave combined with dry conditions is raising fire danger in some parts of the state.

Forecasts from the U.S. Forest Service’s Wildland Fire Assessment System show the greatest fire danger entering the weekend in southwest, central and north-central Oregon.

The Oregon Department of Forestry and Office of Emergency Management advise checking weather forecasts, fire restrictions and road conditions before traveling somewhere to beat the heat.

Many popular hiking and camping spots in Oregon remain either covered with snow or destroyed by wildfire. Those recreating on the water should also remember that rivers, lakes and streams fed by mountain runoff remain extremely cold, despite the hot weather.

“It’s almost as cold as the ocean itself,” Bliss said. “If people are wearing drysuits to stay warm there, it’s good reason to wear a life jacket and swim with friends inland as well.”

Keep children and pets out of hot cars, drink plenty of water, and find shade whenever possible to reduce the risk of heat-related illnesses.

COVID-19 also continues to sicken and kill Oregonians, and restrictions like mask-wearing and social distancing to limit the spread of the disease remain in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated people alike.

St. Charles Health System in Bend sounded the alarm this week urging residents of and visitors to Central Oregon to follow public health guidelines to avoid overtaxing hospitals and health facilities.

Copyright 2021 Oregon Public Broadcasting