HERMISTON — Fair-goers be warned: This week is predicted to be a scorcher.
The hottest registered temperature in Hermiston this year, said National Weather Service forecaster Rob Brooks, was 98 degrees on July 23. The number could very well be eclipsed by Wednesday.
According to the service, temperatures in Umatilla County could rise near the triple digits throughout the week with the weekend potentially bringing thunderstorms from the mountains.
Brooks said the warm and dry weather poses the usual risks of fire, dehydration and other heat-related ailments.
For the workers with Davis Amusement Cascadia — which has been providing the fair carnival for over 50 years — the hot weather is not unfamiliar.
“When we’re working in heat like this, one of the most important things — worker or customer — is food,” said manager and owner of Davis Amusement Michael Davis.
The company schedules in breakfast, lunch, and even a light dinner to keep their workers full.
“We try to coach our employees away from energy drinks and sugary soda toward healthier drinks,” Davis said.
Relief for the Rabbits
Visitors might get a little wet if they visit the large animal barn in the mid-afternoon. Humans aren’t the only ones seeking relief from the heat.
“We’ll spray them down sometimes,” said Carson Davis, 13, Pendleton, who shows sheep.
Exhibiting livestock at the Eastern Oregon Trade and Event Center means shaded barns and built-in water misting systems for the larger animals.
“The beauty of being in a new location is there was a lot of forethought into this,” said 4-H Agent Anna Browne. “The barns are really shady. At the old fairgrounds, a lot of that was out in the open.”
Smaller animals, like rabbits and chickens, will have frozen water bottles in their cages so they have something cool to lean up against.
Browne said that the animals tend to acclimate to the high temperatures fairly well, but that with this year being so hot, extra precautions will be taken.
Don’t overlook overheating
Kelly Shelton, firefighter and paramedic with Umatilla Fire District 1, said they don’t deal with overheating too often at the Umatilla County Fair.
“It’s usually when people haven’t been drinking enough water,” Shelton said. “The first thing we’ll do is take them out of the heat.”
“Try to stay in the shade as much as possible,” Shelton added.
According to the Mayo Clinic, heat exhaustion can be characterized by faintness, cool skin and goosebumps during heat, fatigue, nausea, and headache.
Heatstroke, which is the most serious heat injury, happens when the body’s temperature goes above 104 F degrees, according to the Mayo Clinic. Someone with heatstroke might stop sweating, experience confusion and disorientation, have flushed skin and headaches.
First aid can be found by the small animal barn at the fair.
Catch the cool
Fair attendees can find nearly 20 different water-misting stations scattered around the grounds to help alleviate the stress of the heat. In addition to that, some vendors bring their own stations.
“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate,” said EOTEC general manager Al Davis. “We have water fountains in the center and back by the barns. There’s places.”
In addition to keeping up on water consumption, a little planning can make unbearable heat more tolerable.
Those looking to cool off shade during peak heat, which usually occurs around 3 p.m., can save their carnival rides for after dusk, when the temperature drops to more tolerable levels, and opt instead for events in the barns — where fans and shade are plentiful — or at the Event Center, which is air-conditioned.