Scorching hot Memorial Day poses fire danger and health risks

Bay Area

CONCORD, Calif. (KRON) — Memorial Day is the unofficial start to the summer – and it’s really going to feel like summer this year with higher-than-average temperatures.

People are going to be enjoying the outdoors, but should be cautious and plan ahead for this weekend.

Temperatures are likely to be well above normal inland and somewhat above normal near the coast.

The National Weather Service is warning people, especially the older population, to be careful if they go outside on Monday and Tuesday.

There is a possibility for heat exhaustion, heatstroke, and dehydration — In addition to a concern for potential wildfires.

The high temperatures with dry conditions only amp up the negative effects of the drought.

Several Bay Area counties are still under an extreme drought or in the exceptional drought category.

Contra Costa County firefighters and other counties have already responded to multiple vegetation fires this year.

This leads to fire officials begging people to be thoughtful when out and about on Memorial Day: Be careful when doing any activity that could potentially spark a fire.

Steve Hill with Contra Costa County Fire says fire season is getting longer, but the department is prepared.

They have a helicopter with aerial firefighting capabilities and specific fire control workers, but Hill says they’re not the only ones that need to prepare — So do residents.

“They are really in many ways the first, first responder because they’re the ones that right now can be out there doing things like abating there weeds, creating defensible space,” Hill said.

Contra Costa County has a residents guide to wildfires online — It details how to prepare your property.

Hill says awareness and prevention can make a big difference and reminds residents to always supervise activities like barbeques or bonfires with an extinguisher or water source available.

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