OGDEN — If it hasn’t consistently felt like summer so far, you should be getting a big dose as temperatures through the rest of the week in Ogden extend well into the 90s.
“The story the next few days is going to be building heat,” said Steve Rogowski, a meteorologist in Salt Lake City with the National Weather Service. It will be “the hottest it’s been” and he advises people to heed the temperatures so their bodies can acclimate.
Capt. Rick Cooper, of the Weber Fire District, meantime, is keeping an eye out for wild land fires. All the precipitation from the spring helped create “a bumper crop of grass,” he said, and now with the temperatures rising and the plant life drying, the threat of a fire increases, the norm this time of year.
“It’ll continue to dry out and it’ll increase the risk of a wild land fire,” Cooper said. “This is dry grass. It will burn. It will escape very quickly.”
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Ogden will reach as high as 97 degrees through Friday, with mostly sunny skies. And like Cooper, a NWS hazardous weather outlook for the western two-thirds of Utah — a “semi-routine” pronouncement this time of year, Rogowski said — alludes to the threat of fire.
“Given the hot and dry conditions, this may lead to new fire starts,” the outlook reads.
To deal with the heat, Rogowski recommends those who spend a lot of time outside to periodically seek shade or air-conditioning to cool off. Wear light-colored and lightweight clothes and keep hydrated.
Cooper said the threat of fires isn’t restricted to sparsely inhabited or uninhabited mountainous area. And though there have only been minor wild land fires so far this summer in Weber County, he’s bracing himself.
“We’re going to be busy. We’re going to have fires. To what extent, I don’t know yet,” he said. Restrictions on campfires in unincorporated areas or on the use of fireworks on Pioneer Day, July 24, could be in the offing, he said.
Cooper advises the public to be careful with campfires, to make them small and to make sure they’re extinguished after using them. Be careful with fireworks and be careful about driving off road, where sparks from autos can ignite dry grass and brush.
In light of the summer heat, the Utah Department of Health is reminding the public about the dangers of leaving children inside parked cars. Eleven deaths stemming from kids being left in hot cars had occurred across the nation through late June, the department said.
“These tragedies are happening far too often. They are heartbreaking and preventable, and a reminder for all of us to be aware of the dangers of leaving a child alone in a hot car,” Cambree Applegate, the director of the department’s Safe Kids Utah initiative, said in a statement.
Heatstroke is the leading cause of “non-crash, vehicle-related deaths for children,” the department said. Kids, it went on, are particularly susceptible because their bodies heat up much faster than adults’ bodies.
When it’s 80 degrees, the temperature inside a car can rise 20 degrees in 10 minutes and keep getting hotter. “You can only imagine what happens when the temperature outside is 100 degrees or more. And cracking the window doesn’t help,” Applegate said.