Heat can harm, officials warn

The Emergency Management Division of the Clallam County Sheriff's Office advises residents that the National Weather Services forecasts the warmest temperatures of the year through the middle of next week.

Although temperatures on the Olympic Peninsula are expected to be cooler than in the Puget Sound area and Eastern Washington, travelers to those areas should pay close attention to forecasts and weather conditions.

With the forecast of warmer temperatures comes advice to drink plenty of water, avoid direct sunlight and wear lightweight clothing and hats to protect your face, neck and eyes.

People also should use sunscreen with a minimum protection rating of at least 15 SPF. Residents also should avoid heavy physical activity, especially during the daylight hours.

Children and animals also are vulnerable during warm weather. Make sure that they have plenty of water and have access to shady areas. Monitor their condition often.

Temperatures inside a vehicle, even with the windows rolled down, quickly can exceed the outside temperature and become deadly within a very short time.

Fire danger climbs

The higher temperatures and dry conditions also increase the risk of fire danger on the peninsula.

Off-road motor vehicles can cause fires.

If you're camping, take care of your campfire and make sure it's out before you leave it.

Meanwhile, the Washington State Department of Natural Resources was responding to more than 42 fire incidents on state and federal jurisdictions in Northeastern Washington earlier this week.

More than 200 firefighters, 36 fire engines and five helicopters have kept all of the fires under 10 acres in size, and most are under two acres.

DNR fire officials warn that the entire state will see dangerous fire conditions this weekend and into next week.

"This next seven days will be some of the highest fire danger levels we've seen in recent years, for the west side as well as the east side," said Mark Gray, acting assistant division manager of DNR Fire Control, Aviation and Camps, on Tuesday.

Winter wetness gone

Although parts of Washington received substantial precipitation this past winter, fuel moisture levels are below normal, and moderate fire danger conditions exist on the Olympic Peninsula.

Small fuels, such as grasses, are dry at this time, and will easily carry fire. Larger fuels, such as dead logs, are dry enough to burn. This increases the chance of both human and lightning-caused fires.

To reduce the threat of human-caused fires, burn bans are in place in Clallam, Gray's Harbor, Jefferson, and Mason counties until further notice.

Residents should:

_ Keep campfires in rock fire rings and ensure that the fire is away from grass and brush in an area that has been cleared to mineral soil.

_ If you smoke, use an ashtray and do not throw your cigarette onto the ground.

_ Park only in paved areas to avoid starting fires in dry vegetation.

_ Fireworks are never allowed on national forest or any federal lands.

How to keep your cool

The Clallam County Emergency Management Division offers these tips for hot-weather safety.

_ Spend more time in air-conditioned places.

_ Cover windows that receive morning or afternoon sun.

_ Dress in lightweight clothing.

_ Check on elderly neighbors and relatives.

_ Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic beverages.

_ Limit your direct exposure to the sun.

_ Do not leave infants, children, people with mobility challenges and pets in a parked car, even with the window rolled down.

_ Limit outdoor activity to morning and evening hours.

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