Heat Wave, Elevated Fire Risk to Grip Northwest Into Midweek

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
July 15, 2014; 7:02 PM ET
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The hot weather seen across the Northwest over the weekend will carry over into the new week, continuing the risk of heat-related illness.

Temperatures are forecast to run 10 to 20 degrees above normal for much of the region through the first half of the week with the exception of cooler conditions near the region's coast.

This translates to highs topping out above the 100-degree mark for some locations in the Columbia River Basin including Boise, Idaho; Pasco, Washington; and Medford, Oregon.

Those planning to spend time in the outdoors should be aware of the danger that the heat brings and take the necessary precautions to stay protected from the sun.

"Drinking plenty of non-alcoholic and decaffeinated fluids will help keep your body cool and will prevent heat-related illnesses," said AccuWeather.com Meteorologist Jordan Root.

Wearing light-colored clothing will also help you to stay cooler when compared to wearing darker-colored clothing.

"Temperatures may rise quickly outside, but the inside of a vehicle can heat up much faster. Never leave children, disabled adults, or pets in parked vehicles," Root continued.

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Not only will the heat bring the danger of illnesses, but also an elevated risk of wildfires.

Dry conditions over the past several days have left vegetation across the Northwest drier than normal, making it easier for vegetation to catch fire.

Lightning strikes from spotty afternoon thunderstorms could provide the spark to ignite the dry vegetation and start an out of control fire.

Lightning has already been the cause behind several wildfires in Oregon, InciWeb reports.

People across the region should also take extra precautions when dealing with outdoor fires. Many wildfires are started by humans rather than natural causes, with a smoldering cigarette being enough to start a wildfire given the right conditions.

For those waiting for the heat to ease, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

Temperatures are forecast to gradually fall throughout the second half of the week, running only a few degrees above normal by Friday.

Much of the region will also remain dry through the second half of the week with only a few thunderstorms popping up over the mountains during the afternoon.

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