Ban on Open Burning in Area; Hot and Dry Conditions to Continue; Outdoor Youth Activities Being Cancelled

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Written by Wayne Moran

Hot and dry weather is dominating our area, and is expected to continue for the forseeable future.

Area fire departments have joined to issue bans on open burning.  Those who have reported bans on burning include the City of Effingham, and the Teutopolis, Shumway, Watson, Altamont, Montrose, Edgewood Bi-County, Beecher City Tri-County, Dieterich, Sigel and Farina Fire Protection Districts.

Each department that has called for the ban has made an exception for those who want to grill outside, but included a request for careful monitoring of the grill to make sure no embers blow away and ignite a fire.

The no open burning orders are in effect until further notice.

Today, the area will see actual air temperatures near 104 degrees. A resident southeast of Altamont reported a temperature reading of 106.7 degrees Thursday afternoon.  Unfortunately, this dangerous heat will extend for some time. Current forecast models from the National Weather Service show temps above 100 on Friday as well, before cooling off ever-so-slightly for the weekend, with Saturday and Sunday being 98-99 degrees both days. In fact, through Tuesday of next week, we'll be above 90 degrees. To add to the misery, there's no mention of rain in the extended forecast. All this heat has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Heat Advisory for the area. You'll find that advisory and more in our WeatherLink section, located here.

For those working outside, there's also an increased risk for Heat Illness, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear lightly-colored clothing, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water, avoiding soda and sugary beverages. You can learn the signs and symptoms of Heat Illness by clicking here.

Effingham County Emergency Management Agency Director Russ Thomas has issued a Heat Advisory through Saturday.  Thomas said that all County-owned buildings can be used as cooling centers during the day on those three days.

Also, City of Effingham Emergency Management Coordinator Kim Tegeler said that the Ron Diehl Center at Hendelmeyer Park on South 4th Street will again be available as a cooling center from 11am to 7pm today.

Officials ask that you also remember your outdoor pets. Provide plenty of fresh water for them and, if possible, keep them in the shade. As well, don't forget to check on neighbors that may not have air conditioning.

A reminder that all outdoor youth sports and activities offered by the Effingham Park District, Teutopolis Park District, Dieterich Park District and Edgewood Park District are cancelled for today. 

Also, Unit 40 Activity Director David Woltman today announced that all outdoor facilities on Unit 40 property including school buildings, playgrounds and athletic venues are closed for any type of usage as of noon Thursday and the closure will continue through Sunday, July 1.  After Sunday, stay tuned or check our website for further updates.