King County is making resources available to help protect vulnerable residents from heat-related illnesses, and to protect communities from the increasing risk of wildfires. Fire chiefs strongly recommend attending professional firework shows rather than shooting fireworks due to the unusually dry conditions.
King County is prepared to help residents during the heat wave that is expected to start this afternoon and last through the weekend. Because most homes in the region do not have air conditioning, there is a significantly greater risk of heat-related illness, particularly for older adults, young children, people who take certain medication, and people with mental-health needs.
The hot, dry weather, combined with increasing chance of thunderstorms and lightning this weekend, has increased the risk of wildfires. There is also a greater risk of drownings as more people go to rivers and lakes to cool off.
“Increasingly hot and dry summers, combined with this year’s record-low snowpack, have serious consequences for our region,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine. “We are making resources available to prevent heat-related illness, drownings, and wildfires this summer. These conditions are also a reminder that we must keep making progress to confront climate change, which is contributing to extreme weather.”
Fire chiefs across the county are alerting residents to the increased risk of fires. Prolonged dry weather and below-average spring rainfall have cured grass and vegetation growth, creating an elevated fire danger nearly six weeks earlier than normal. In those communities where fireworks are permitted, discharge is limited to from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on July 4.
"I strongly encourage residents to take advice from local fire chiefs and leave the fireworks to the professionals,” said Executive Constantine. “The risk of potentially devastating fires is too great in these dry conditions."
King County Emergency Management’s website includes such helpful information as:
- How to stay cool, including open cooling centers
- Protecting homes from wildfires
- Updates on burn bans
- Swimming safely and preventing drowning
King County departments are taking action in preparation for the heat wave:
- Public Health – Seattle & King County is sending heat alerts to more than 500 community-based organizations and community leaders that serve multi-cultural and vulnerable populations. The Health Care for the Homeless program is providing educational resources to local shelters.
- King County 2-1-1 will update its website throughout the weekend to help residents find the nearest cooling station.
- The King County Department of Community and Human Services is providing heat alert information to community human service providers. The Emergency Services Patrol will carry bottled water and will be especially vigilant for any signs of dehydration or heat-related illness among homeless persons as they drive their day and evening routes in Seattle.
- King County animal control officers will be out on regular patrols, and will respond to resident calls about animals in distress due to the heat. Call 9-1-1 or 206-296-PETS (7387) if you see a pet in a hot car, or an animal that lacks access to fresh water and shade. For more tips, visit the Summer Pet Safety Tips webpage.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:
Chad Lewis, Executive Office, 206-263-1250