Record heat grips Clark County

100 on Thursday sets Aug. 16 mark; high 90s expected Friday



Tyler Huck enjoys a run through a stream of water after Camas-Washougal firefighters opened a fire hydrant at Hamlik Park in Washougal on Thursday to help kids beat the heat on a 100-degree day.

Vancouver notched its second triple-digit day of 2012 on Thursday, reaching a record-setting 100 degrees as the region’s heat wave continued. Forecasters expect another scorcher Friday, perhaps topping out just below the century mark.

The heat wave has prompted local officials to offer tips for how to stay cool. Hot temperatures come with a risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke, heat exhaustion and cramps.

“Be aware that we’re not acclimated to this kind of weather,” said East County Fire & Rescue Chief Scott Koehler.

Although anyone can suffer from heat-related illnesses, some people are at greater risk, including infants and young children, people 65 or older and those who are physically ill.

Health officials recommend checking on at-risk adults at least twice a day. Infants and young children need more frequent monitoring.

Clark County Public Health officials encouraged people to take these steps to stay safe during the heat wave:

• Drink more fluids (non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated), regardless of your activity level.

• Stay indoors and, if possible, in an air-conditioned place.

• Never leave anyone in a closed, parked vehicle, especially young children. This applies to pets, as well.

• Electric fans will not prevent heat-related illness when the temperature reaches the high 90s. Taking a cool shower or bath, or moving to an air-conditioned place is a much better way to cool off.

• Wear lightweight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.

• Limit your outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

• Cut down on exercise. If you exercise, avoid the midday hours and drink two to four glasses of cool, non-alcoholic fluids each hour. A sports beverage may replace the salt and minerals you lose in sweat.

• Try to rest often in shady areas.

• Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide- brimmed hat and sunglasses and by putting on sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher.

Thursday’s high temperature of 100 degrees beat the old Aug. 16 record of 99, set in 2008, according to the National Weather Service in Portland. That’s the second time this month Vancouver has reached triple digits, along with a 103-degree day on Aug. 4.

Forecasts called for Friday’s high to land in the upper 90s, before conditions cool down Saturday and Sunday, according to the weather service.

“If you’re going to be outside and active, shade and hydration are critical,” said Vancouver Fire Department spokesman Joe Spatz. “Drink, drink, drink water.”

The recent run of hot, dry weather has created a high wildfire risk on both sides of the Cascade Mountains, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Burning on DNR-managed lands has been prohibited since July 1.

Locally, burn bans on private property in both Clark and Cowlitz counties took effect on July 15. They’re scheduled to remain in place until Sept. 30 or later, depending on conditions.