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Story by Oregon Herald staff
Published on Thursday September 3, 2020 - 9:21 PM
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SALEM, Oregon  – The end of summer is in sight. Labor Day is around the corner, kids are starting back to school, and we're continually mindful about social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing face coverings. The temperatures are rising and it looks like we're in for a hot stretch.

We all need a break from the heat, and the stress of 2020. Oregon's gorgeous landscape and waterways offer the best break nature has to offer. However, our parks and waterways have seen record number of visitors, causing an increase in search and rescue missions throughout the state.

We all need to do our part to help keep each other safe, even while we seek respite and fresh air. Please help reduce risk by taking some basic steps to make sure you and your family are prepared:

  • Know your limits! Let's face it, this is just not the year to check out that extra challenging hike you've never done or climb that mountain you've never even seen in person. Be realistic about your health, abilities and expertise as you plan your outdoor activities.
  • Let family or friends know where you're going and when you expect to return.
  • The holiday weekend is a popular time to be on or around water, especially given the hot and dry conditions. If you plan to be in or near a pool, river, lake or other open body of water – in a boat or onshore - remember to bring, and wear, lifejackets or floatation devices. Again, 2020 is not the time to risk it all with that brand new kayak or jet-ski.
  • High temperatures and low humidity are friends to wildfire. Campfires or sparks from cars, campers or RVs can ignite dry grass in an instant. Be prepared. Always have fire extinguishing tools on hand. If a campfire is a must, be sure to know local burn bans and fire restrictions beforehand.  
  • With several days of high heat in the forecast, be sure to carry enough water, sunscreen and a hat.
  • Stay close to home! Familiar territory equals less risk.

These simple steps can make a big difference to help create happy holiday memories during an exceptionally trying year.

For additional info on how you can make sure your next outing doesn't end in disaster, here are some additional wilderness safety tips:

To learn more about the Oregon's Search and Rescue Program, visit