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Heat dome is still building

It only takes a spark to cause local destruction

POSTED July 25, 2011 3:53 p.m.

It’s not just here.
All around the nation, the “heat dome” continues to put stress on people, animals, and the infrastructure.
Locally, the reaction again this week was to continue the county-wide ban on open burning, in the hopes that range fires could be controlled.
Emergency Risk Manager Amy Miller told the Barton County Commission Monday that local fire departments had another busy week last week in response to grass and range fires.
Beaver responded to a grass fire, Hoisington to a road ditch and vehicle fire, Great Bend to a grass fire and a brush fire along the river, and Ellinwood to ditch fires and a major hay shed fire.
All of the fires shared one thing in common, Miller noted. They all began with a minor source of ignition.
Conditions are right for a serious range fire, due to disastrously dry condition and the amount of fuel that is available. All that is needed is a minor spark, and that is why open burning is such a risk right now.
According to the Associated Press, the problem is not just local, either. “The bubble of hot air developed over the Midwest earlier this week and has caused more than a dozen deaths as it moved eastward. As of Saturday, the medical examiner’s office in Chicago listed heat stress or heat stroke as the causes of death for eight people.”
“On Saturday morning, commuter trains were packed as thousands of New Yorkers headed to beaches on Long Island or in New Jersey. Four city beaches were under a pollution warning after a fire earlier in the week at a wastewater plant forced officials to dump millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River.
“About 10,000 customers remained without power in New York City and its suburbs, and about 9,000 in New Jersey, after parts of the region’s electrical network failed. Power utility Con Edison said it was reducing the voltage in 69 other New York neighborhoods to ease the load caused by thousands of air conditioners.
“City officials said water usage had soared as New Yorkers tried to keep cool. On Saturday, it hovered around 1.5 billion gallons a day, about 50 percent higher than normal, said Environmental Protection Commissioner Cas Holloway.”

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