Search and rescue: Ramping up efforts for eclipse weekend

Solar eclipse is Aug. 21

A Mountain Wave Search And Rescue vehicle. (MWSR)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Search and rescue crews are getting ready for an extra 1 million people in Oregon for the Aug. 21 solar eclipse.

Many viewing events for the eclipse are near or in the Oregon wilderness, which has crews wondering what will happen when tourists unfamiliar with Oregon’s terrain decide to go on a hike.

Groups like Mountain Wave Search and Rescue are getting ready for all kinds of scenarios including out-of-towners getting lost in the woods.

“They made decide to go take off on the Pacific Coast Trail… and get in over their heads,” member Ron Miller said.

Miller also said police have asked their group to man 2 locations — one near Rhododendron and another in the Ripplebrook area. They anticipate issues between Friday Aug. 18 and Tuesday Aug. 22.

The team, made up of 100% of volunteers, has people taking off work or using vacation time to be available to help when needed.

Miller said he’s hoping for the best, but does expect some issues to arise simply due to the number of people heading to Oregon.

“When you have that many people out there, lost or injured… assistance being found… or being extricated,” Miller said.

While the non-profit’s backbone function is running communications between agencies, Mountain Wave has been crucial in countless rescues, including one in February when a 2-year-old wandered out of his Northeast Portland home and wound up in blackberry bushes blocks away.