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The total eclipse on Aug. 21 will last for barely 2 minutes, but its potential effects could be much more significant for Baker County residents than the brief duration suggests.
This rare event, the first visible in Baker County since 1918, is projected to lure about 1 million people to Oregon. An estimated 50,000 of those — based in part on lodging reservations — will watch the eclipse from someplace in Baker County.
Even if this forecast proves ambitious, it’s all but certain that the county will host an influx of visitors that far exceeds what’s typical even for a busy summer weekend.
And a weekend it will be. The eclipse happens in the middle of a Monday morning, so it’s probable that a majority of the visitors will spend the preceding weekend here.
Local and state officials have been meeting regularly for the past several months to prepare for this event. They’re dealing with such logistical matters as crowded highways and the potential for human-caused wildfires during what’s usually the height of fire season.
But we also urge county residents to consider taking a few simple steps to avoid unnecessary annoyances during this landmark event.
These include filling your gas tanks and making sure your pantry is well-stocked with food before the eclipse weekend arrives.
The latter might be more important, as it will be much easier to stay home to watch the eclipse than to venture onto roads to get to another vantage point.
And although we will no doubt be repeating this piece of advice multiple times over the next three months, considering the stakes it’s one that’s worth the redundancy — make sure you have safety glasses for everyone who wants to see the eclipse.
The danger to your eyesight is significant.
We’ll be publishing a special section this summer that will include options for acquiring safety glasses, which can be had for as little as $1.