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State under warning for fire danger

June 28, 2012

    INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Record-breaking heat is headed to parts of Indiana on Thursday and could combine with low humidity and winds gusting up to 30 mph could combine to create combustible conditions, the National Weather Service says.
    Temperatures are expected to soar above 100 degrees on Thursday, bringing the hottest weather since the 1930s to some places in central Indiana, the weather service says. The weather service says temperatures could hit as high as 106 and likely will be at least 102, making it the hottest weather in central Indiana since at least 1988.
    Excessive heat advisories have been issued for other parts of Indiana.
    The Indiana Division of Homeland Security is encouraging people to take precautions against the heat by limiting extraneous activity or exercise, staying inside in air-conditioned places as much as possible. 
    ‘‘It is extremely important that everyone stays cool and comfortable especially our most vulnerable populations such as small children, the elderly, and people with limited mobility,’’ Homeland Security Chief Gary Coons said.
    The Indiana Department of Labor is urging employers and employees to use caution in the heat, saying heat-related illness is 100 percent preventable. It said workers should drink five to seven ounces of fluids every 15 to 20 minutes to replenish necessary fluids and workers in hot environments should take regular rest breaks. The agency says workers outside should rest in the shade.
    The weather service also has issued a fire danger warning for a large swath of central Indiana, covering 39 of the state’s 92 counties. The weather service says the red flag warning will be in effect Thursday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. from Kokomo in the north to Vincennes in the southwest and North Vernon in the southeast.
    Weather service meteorologist Michael Koch said the warnings aren’t common in the area.
    ‘‘We’ve gone years where we haven’t had any, then we’ve had years where we’ve had a bunch of them,’’ he said.
    The Indianapolis Fire Department issued a burn ban Wednesday for Marion County, bringing the total number of counties under burn bans in Indiana to more than 70. Nearly 80 percent of the state was classified last week as being in a drought. A new U.S. Drought Monitor map will be released Thursday.
    The weather service reports that so far it has been the driest June ever in Indianapolis, with just 0.05 inches of rain. The average precipitation through June 25 is 3.54 inches. No rain was expected Wednesday, which would make it the 23rd straight day without precipitation. That’s the longest period without rain in Indianapolis since a 25-day stretch ended on March 4, 1983. 
    The record for consecutive days of non-measurable precipitation is 39 days, set in 1908.
    The Indiana Department of Environmental Management also was expecting elevated ozone levels Thursday in some areas, which could cause respiratory problems for some people.

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