A cooldown is on the way for residents of the Northwest after nearly a week of record-challenging heat and sizzling sunshine.
Temperatures will gradually return to near normal levels over the weekend from Seattle to Medford, Oregon and to Boise, Idaho, following an extended period of temperatures 5 to 15 degrees above normal.
People across the region should still take precautions to stay protected from the heat on Thursday and Friday while temperatures remain above normal.
Looking ahead to the upcoming week, temperatures are forecast to fall even more as the core of the heat shifts over the Plains.
For some locations, such as Spokane, Washington, this will be the first time this month that below-normal temperatures are observed.
Despite the lower temperatures, folks planning to spend time in the outdoors should be aware of the dangers that the sun brings.
The sun angle is still very high and can cause to sunburn if you do not take the proper precautions. Apply sunscreen and wearing lighter-colored clothing are two ways to help you stay protected from the harmful rays from the sun.
In addition to bringing health issues to those across the Northwest, the stretch of hot conditions and low humidity also brought an elevated risk of wildfires.
Throughout the course of the heat wave, over a dozen wildfires ignited across the region with most of them starting as a result of lightning strikes, according to the Incident Information System.
Fires of this nature typically begin when lightning from a nearby thunderstorm strikes dry vegetation, sparking the fire. However, rain from these thunderstorms evaporates before reaching the ground due to how dry the atmosphere is near the ground.
These types of thunderstorms are commonly referred to as dry thunderstorms.
Much of the region will remain dry over the next several days as crews continue to battle the blazes.
Although temperatures will lower, that does not mean that the fire danger is over. The continuation of dry weather for much of the region also means the continuation of abnormally dry vegetation.
People across the region should still use caution when dealing with fire as it does not take much for the dry vegetation to ignite and spread.
Several records were broken across the Northwest during the course of this heat wave.
Pasco, Washington, reached one of the highest temperature values across the entire region, topping out at 109 F on Wednesday afternoon.
Wenatchee, Washington, was another hot spot, hitting 100 F each day from July 8 to July 16, averaging more than 12 degrees above normal during that time.