If anyone in Canby is used to dealing with extreme heat, it’s the men and women of the Canby Fire District. Still, the record-shattering temperatures of the past several days have been a challenge, to say the least.
Canby Fire Chief Jim Davis tells The Canby Current that his agency responded to more than 50 emergency calls over the weekend including a house fire at the Canby Regency mobile home park on South New Era Road Friday and a serious crash Sunday in which a victim had to be cut out from their vehicle using hydraulic tools.
Other calls included a tractor-trailer fire at Kahut Waste Services, a serious injury at Community Park and numerous medical episodes.
“This taxed our crews all weekend long,” Davis said. “Many patients are waiting far too long in the heat, causing the person to have a medical emergency. We ask that if you are able, please check in with your neighbor or elderly.”
On a more positive note, Davis praised the work of the Canby Police Department in addressing parking issues and overcrowding at Community Park on the Molalla River.
“All the fire lanes were open, as we did have a few emergency calls along the river,” Davis said. “Firefighters again had to carry a male patient with injuries almost a mile in the extreme heat.”
Looking ahead to next weekend, Davis admitted he is gravely concerned about the upcoming Fourth of July holiday, with strong east winds and historically low humidity in the forecast.
“This is a recipe for a fire to ignite and spread very quickly,” Davis said. “I am extremely concerned with the current and forecasted weather for the week leading up to Independence Day.”
In light of the danger, Canby Fire sent a press release Monday begging local residents to forego fireworks displays during their Independence Day celebrations this year.
“The fire district is extremely concerned with the extreme hot weather the Canby area has had the past two weeks,” Davis said. “Fire danger is high, with very low humidity, and this will cause fires to increase in size very rapidly. The smallest spark will ignite vegetation and structures.”
Davis acknowledged that “safe and sane” fireworks are on sale, and that many local organizations depend on the sale of fireworks each year.
“If you must set off fireworks, please make sure they are safe and sane fireworks, and follow all rules,” the chief said. “Make sure a responsible adult is supervising with a garden hose and water. Keep fireworks away from all structures and vegetation. Also, keep all roads open so emergency crews can get to an emergency.”
Other jurisdictions, including the cities of Portland, Eugene and Ashland, have announced bans on the use of all fireworks due to extreme conditions. But Canby Fire, as a rural fire protection district, Canby Fire does not have that legal authority.
Canby Fire can issue bans on open burning (and one is currently in effect), but they do not apply to fireworks under the law.
Safety officials ask that residents please refrain from using 911 to report legal or illegal fireworks, but instead call only in the case of a confirmed fire or medical emergency.
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