Temps continue to stay in triple digits

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 16, 2007

Temperatures continue to remain in the upper 90s and triple digits for the Black Belt area,

causing numerous fires and increasing the number of people seeking medical help, authorities reported.

By early afternoon on Wednesday it was 111 degrees in Thomasville. By late afternoon the temperature reached 108 in Demopolis.

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State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson said hospitals are reporting &8220;a significant increase&8221; in the number of patients with heat-related problems. But so far only one death in the state has been described as &8220;possibly heat related,&8221; a man found dead Sunday in his car in Mobile.

According to a release from the Gov. Bob Riley&8217;s office, junior college buildings and senior citizen centers are to remain open until 5 p.m. for the rest of the week, Marengo County EMA Director Kevin McKinney said Wednesday.

There are three senior centers in the area, which normally serve lunch during the day. The senior centers in Demopolis, Linden and Dixons Mills will remain open for the rest of the week to accommodate those looking to get out of the heat.

The high temperatures have fueled brush fires across the state and caused headaches for firefighters who have to fight those blazes in triple-digit heat.

Coleen Vansant, spokesman for the Alabama Forestry Commission, said there were 23 fires reported across the state Monday that burned 211 acres. She said the number of fires has picked up considerably during the heat wave over the past 10 days.

She said firefighters have to take plenty of water breaks.

At Alabama prisons, corrections officers were working hard to cool off prisoners who live in dormitories and cellblocks with no air conditioning.

Bob Johnson of the Associated Press contributed to this report.