Apoceclipse? Eclipsalypse? Whatever you call it, Central Oregon is in a wad about The Great American Eclipse, coming soon to a traffic jam near you.
Everyone from the Red Cross to ODOT to the Deschutes County Sheriff to the Unitarian Church are planning for the onslaught of visitors and have been busy issuing advice and warnings. Threat of wildfire is, indeed, the most dire issue. If you’re planning to view totality on the dry side of Oregon, August 14—22 might be a good week to quit cigarettes. To paraphrase Smokey: only you can prevent wildfires.
NationalGeographic.com offers these safeguards—
- Contact 911, the local fire department, or the Park Service if you notice any unattended or out-of-control fire.
- Never leave a fire unattended. Completely extinguish the fire by dousing it with water and stirring the ashes until cold.
- When camping, take care when using and fueling lanterns, stoves, and heaters.
- Make sure lighting and heating devices are cool before refueling.
- Avoid spilling flammable liquids, and store fuel away from appliances.
- Do not discard cigarettes, matches, and smoking materials from moving vehicles. Be certain to completely extinguish cigarettes before disposing of them.
And for chrissakes, don’t burn any trash or brush this summer. Also, be careful with anything that could cause a spark; last year, a motorhome towing a small utility trailer created a significant fire by Highway 26 when the trailer—unseen by the driver—bounced and threw off sparks that ignited the dry grass on the side of the road.
Travelers as well as locals are being warned about petty inconveniences as well. No one is really sure about the impact on the area but most expect that Bend (and certainly Madras and Prineville) will be crowded on Thursday August 17 and will remain busy until Wednesday, August 23. Folks are being encouraged to:
- Get grocery shopping done a week or more ahead of time—not only to beat the crowd, but to give stores time to restock.
- Pick up prescriptions and medical supplies early.
- Get doctor and dental appointments out of the way.
- Conserve water: don’t water the lawn or use extra water during the weekend. (I might disagree with this one. Greenery needs to stay green in August.)
- Conserve energy: unplug appliances that aren’t in use; do laundry and run the dishwasher during off-peak hours.
- Be prepared for slow internets, and streaming may be sluggish or nonexistent.
- Fill up gas tanks early.
- Get cash early; ATMs may run out of bills or be hindered by the aforementioned slow connectivity.
Overall, supplies will be limited and in high demand, traffic will be heavy, and lines at restaurants and in stores will be long—so exercise patience. Be nice, you’re in Oregon!
More on the subject in The Source Weekly.