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Education | local | News | Northwest Wildfires 2017

Heat, Wildfires Prompt Many School Districts In The Gorge To Alter Plans


With temperatures soaring and wildfires blazing along the Columbia River Gorge, many area districts announced closures or early dismissals on Tuesday.

In the Gorge, the Corbett School District announced a district-wide closure on Tuesday, Sept. 5, out of an abundance of caution due to the nearby Eagle Creek Fire. East Corbett is under a Level 3 — meaning leave now — evacuation notice, with the rest of Corbett under a Level 2 — meaning be ready — notice as of Tuesday morning. Cascade Locks Elementary School, part of the Hood River School District, is closed as well due to the fire.

On the Washington side of the Columbia River, the Stevenson-Carson School District is also closed Tuesday. The Woodland School District is dismissing students early Tuesday due to extreme heat in the forecast.

And in Portland, with temperatures expected to reach the mid-90s and an unhealthy air quality index due to nearby wildfires, Portland Public Schools announced it will end school two hours early Tuesday.

In an email sent to parents and guardians of students Monday evening, interim Superintendent Yousef Awwad said that due to a heat advisory, the district opted to cut the school day short for students. All kindergarten and preschool programs will be closed Tuesday. 

Many of Portland’s school buildings lack air conditioning, and with wildfire smoke leading to unhealthy air quality across much of the region, the district said windows in many classrooms must remain closed Tuesday. 

The city is in the midst of a potentially record-breaking heat wave. A Red Flag Warning and a Heat Advisory are in effect for the region until 10 p.m. Tuesday. 

The district says it’s making all necessary preparations to ensure student transportation needs are met, including having buses arrive at schools two hours earlier than normal Tuesday afternoon. 

Temperatures are expected to dip midweek. The National Weather Service in Portland is calling for a high of 85 and smoky conditions on Wednesday. The temperature is expected to drop into the mid-70s on Thursday, with a possible chance of thunderstorms and sporadic rain showers throughout the day.

East of Eugene, Oregon, the McKenzie School District is postponing the first day of school until Thursday. The district cited poor air quality from wildfires in its announcement of the change.

Portland Public Schools

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