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Area continues to battle extreme heat

Many would say that in this heat, 5-year old Rachel Jones ofBrookhaven had the right idea when she stuck her head in the bigtub of half-melted ice and bottled water at Sunday night’sPatriotic Picnic.

“It’s hot,” Rachel said, as if in explanation of her plunge.

Rachel and numerous other area residents braved the heat to be apart of the festivities at Easthaven Baptist Church Sunday, and byall accounts, it was another successful event.

But some people like Sarah King, who drove from Lawrence Countyfor the fireworks display, said the heat was just too much totake.

“I don’t like being all sweaty if I don’t have to, and I thinkit’s hotter this year than it was last year,” she said.

King was not far off target. Lincoln and the surroundingcounties have been under a heat advisory for more than a week now,and officials say the heat index has been up over 100 degrees onseveral occasions during that time.

Lincoln County Civil Defense Director Clifford Galey said hedoesn’t know what has caused the heat to come earlier this year,but that it is not a figment of anyone’s imagination.

“It’s hotter than it normally has been at this time of theyear,” he said. “But the good thing is it looks like it’s going tocool down pretty soon here.”

While highs over the last two weeks have been in the upper 90s,Monday’s high is predicted to be around 93 degrees, which is stilluncomfortable by most standards.

Galey said there are precautions that can be taken to keep thetemperatures from becoming a problem.

“Stay inside if you can,” he said. “But if you can’t, if youhave to be outside, wear proper clothing, drink plenty of water,stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible. I know that’snot an easy thing to do if you work outside, but do what youcan.”

Hydration is a key ingredient to avoiding heat-relatedillnesses, Galey said. Working in temperatures from 90 to 105degrees can cause sunstroke, heat cramps, and heat exhaustion withprolonged exposure and or physical activity.

“Drink plenty of water, and usually water is going to be thebest thing for you,” he said.

As for chances that the rain that has sprinkled surroundingareas could come to Brookhaven, Galey said so far there’s not apositive sign that Lincoln County grounds could be soggy again anytime soon.

“I haven’t seen anything that’s going to give us any significantrainfall in the next week,” he said.

And that could be a problem not only for people, but also forpreventing grass and woodland fires. Brookhaven Fire DepartmentShift Captain Furman Freeman said if it’s not possible to keep thegrass wet, it’s not a good idea to burn around it.

“You’ve got to keep it wet, the best thing I think would be ifyou’re not watering it, don’t do any burning” he said. “Everythingis dry right now, even green-looking stuff now is dry. It’s anever-ending thing, if it doesn’t rain soon we’ll all behurting.”