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Sizzling temps expected Sunday

Temperatures in the 100s are expected in Southern Oregon on Sunday through Tuesday, with thunderstorms possible, according to the National Weather Service.

The sizzling temperatures, from a high pressure system off the Pacific Coast, will push ashore Sunday, said National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Schaaf. On Sunday, Medford is looking at a high temperature of 104 degrees, while Ashland could hit 100.

The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday for Jackson and Josephine counties, eastern Curry County, central Douglas County, the Siskiyou Mountains and Southern Oregon Cascades.

“We’re looking at a very hot day Sunday,” Schaaf said. “It’s going to be hot all over the valley.”

Sunday night temperatures will offer a slight reprieve, with temperatures in the mid 60s expected, then it’s back into the furnace, with Medford expected to hit 103 degrees Monday and Ashland predicted to see 99, Schaaf said. Tuesday could bring another 100-degree day in Medford.

The heat wave “will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities,” the heat advisory said.

The advisory recommends that residents drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun, check on relatives and neighbors, take frequent rest breaks, and wear lightweight, loose-fitting clothing while working outdoors.

Monday will bring a chance for thunderstorms, with areas east of the Cascades and south of the Siskiyous under the greatest threat, Schaaf said.

“We’re still working on pinning down the location,” Schaaf said. “It’s an evolving forecast. Things might change.”

The U.S. Forest Service has bolstered personnel and equipment across the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in response to the forecast, according to a press release. The Siskiyou Mountain Ranger District has four engines and a 20-person initial attack crew on standby, while six engines and a 20-person attack crew have been staffed to the High Cascades Ranger District, the release said.

Six engines and a 20-person initial attack crew are at the ready on the Wild Rivers Ranger District in Josephine County, with four engines, a water tender and a 10-person hand crew stationed in the Gold Beach area. Aviation resources include a Type 2 rappel helicopter and module stationed in Medford, and a Type 1 helicopter in Grants Pass. Daily air reconnaissance missions will be performed by Forest Service personnel, and Medford’s air tanker base is open for large air tankers and very large air tankers.

Firefighters are battling 15 lightning-sparked blazes in Modoc County and eastern Siskiyou County, California, a group that has been designated as the July Complex. The fire complex had grown to more than 8,000 acres Friday, according to InciWeb, a federal incident information website that’s regularly updated with data on U.S. wildfires (inciweb.nwcg.gov). The largest fire in the complex is the Caldwell fire, a 7,900-acre blaze with heat intense enough to generate a pyrocumulus cloud over the fire that generated some lightning strikes, the Weather Service reported. Wind-driven fire growth Thursday led to closure of Lava Beds National Monument and Forest Service roads in the area, and people were warned to stay out of the Medicine Lake area, according to InciWeb.

Crews also battled the 1,249-acre Ben Young fire in Lake County. As of Friday, the blaze was 35% contained, the InciWeb website reported. Its cause was still under investigation.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

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