Hood River County Health Department urges the community to be prepared for all hazards and potential emergency situations. In addition to the global COVID pandemic, this week, the area experienced wildfires and short-duration power outages.
“This announcement is aimed at reminding everyone to always be prepared,” said a health department press release dated Aug. 14.
“We are particularly concerned regarding a potential disruption to electrical service in our community. While the risk is low at this time, we want everyone to be prepared, especially those vulnerable populations that are dependent on electricity for their health/life/safety,” continued the press release.
The Mosier Creek Fire is burning close to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) transmission lines. Firefighting efforts could require power to be shut off to the lines to protect firefighter’s safety. If this occurred, residents in Western Wasco County and parts of Hood River County could be impacted.
While the outlook Friday seemed to indicate a low likelihood of another power outage, a small risk remains and the public needs to be prepared in case the situation changes:
- A high heat event is pending for this weekend. Wildfire season is in full swing; expect poor air-quality and the potential for new fires.
- COVID cases are still occurring in our communities.
There is a small risk for more power outages. An outage associated with the Mosier Creek fire may come with little notice, and increased fire-weather situations may increase the likelihood of a ‘Public Safety Power Outage’ too.
If anyone has questions, or needs special assistance regarding a power outage, they should contact their electricity utility provider directly:
- Pacific Power (City of Hood River and Mosier): 1-888-221-7070
- Hood River Electric Coop (Hood River Valley): 541-354-1233
Sign up for the local ‘Citizen Alert’ system via Everbridge as follows:
- Hood River County at member.everbridge.net/index/892807736721762%20#/login
- Wasco County at member.everbridge.net/453003085612392/login
- Information regarding high heat preparedness and poor air quality may be found on the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/nceh/features/extremeheat/index.html (heat) or www.cdc.gov/air/wildfire-smoke/default.htm (smoke)
- Information regarding the Mosier Creek Fire may be found at InciWeb - Incident Information System at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/article/6955/53176
Wildfire smoke warning
The Department of Environmental Quality has issued an air quality advisory for Hood River and The Dalles area due to the Mosier Creek fire. This will be a Red Flag Warning weekend in the region with the active fire fight continuing in Wasco County.
Wildfire smoke is a health threat that can hurt the eyes, irritate the respiratory system and worsen chronic heart and lung diseases, said a press release by Mike Matthews, registered environmental Health specialist and public information officer for Hood River County Health Department.
Those with respiratory or heart disease, the elderly, and children, are advised to stay indoors when the air quality is poor. Current information about the Mosier Creek fire can be found at inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/6955.
Multiple COVID-19 outbreaks reported in Hood River Co.
Hood River County currently has 15 active workplace outbreaks, reports Hood River County Health Department. The facility types range from agricultural processing, fruit packing, and restaurants, to office and retail facilities have been identified as having workplace outbreaks of COVID-19 cases.
Once five or more cases are identified connected to one facility, Oregon Health Authority will release this information in their weekly report.
“As a community, we must continue to follow guidance for proper social distancing and mask use both at work and during personal time outside of work,” said Matthews in a press release. “We have all worked hard to put safeguards into place for our employees. We all have control of our behavior outside of the workplace, and we ask that all those in our community use extra caution after hours so that we may continue to operate the essential businesses in our community.
“The contact tracing efforts at Hood River County Health Department are essential, as cases in our state and county continue to accelerate,” he said. “We understand this is a confusing and challenging time, but we are grateful for our community’s collective response in supporting our local farms, packing houses, and essential workers to have a safe and successful harvest. We appreciate the risks and sacrifices they are taking to put local produce on our tables.
“We appreciate and thank our partners who come together when cases have multi-jurisdictional impact.”
“Unfortunately, we will see more incidences of virus spread in the coming weeks and months”, said Christopher Van Tilburg, health officer, HRCHD. “Most importantly, everyone must stay home if they feel ill or have any symptoms, don’t go out call your doctor!”