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Rescue and dive teams face busy weekend as heat wave hits western Washington

Fire and Sheriff's departments called in extra crews to prepare because they say there's a direct correlation between rising temperatures and water rescues.

FALL CITY, Wash. — When temperatures skyrocket many people look for relief in local waters. It’s a situation that can be dangerous if you're not adequately prepared for the conditions or you take unnecessary risks.

Rescue and dive teams responded to several calls Saturday as temperatures soared. On Saturday, there was a steady stream of people riding boats and tubing down the Snoqualmie River.

On a record-setting hot day in western Washington, local lakes and rivers seemed like an ideal place. “We just bought a little portable air conditioner but we still needed to get out of the house,” Nathan Gregg said. 

Gregg and his friends wore life jackets while enjoying their ride down the river. Local Dive and Rescue Teams have called in extra crews for the weekend because they see a direct correlation between rising temperatures and water rescues.

“The ambient air temperature is 90 or higher but that water is still 37 degrees, it's cold,” said Lieutenant Scott Fleming with King County Fire. Fleming said he worries the next few days are going to be especially bad.

“This weekend between the Green River, the Snoqualmie River, the Skykomish River, we're probably going to have a fatality,” he said.  

While life jackets aren't required for those riding inner tubes, they could save your life. They are required for those riding on paddleboards and other boats. 

First responders say you shouldn't get in a lake or river without a life jacket. King County Fire hosts frequent giveaways to equip people with life jackets at no cost.

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