People are struggling to stay cool as a heat wave continues to grip southwestern Ontario, and they are also being asked to take precautions.

Friday is the third consecutive day of temperatures above 32 C, making it an official heat wave as classified by Environment Canada.

It’s also the hottest day of the year so far in Waterloo Region, with the mercury hitting 34.2 C. With the humidex temperatures were in the 39 C range.

For some, like those preparing for a weekend tennis tournament, staying indoors isn’t an option.

Tennis player Sandra Dynka says “We have to be out here to practice, so we don’t really have another choice.”

For those working out, experts recommend drinking a lot of water and pacing yourself.

Jackie Sinkeldam at Eramosa Physiotherapy says “We can adjust to exercising in the heat but it does take some time, typically about two weeks is the time our body needs to adjust.”

Fitness experts also recommend showing a little more skin to help the body sweat better and lighter-coloured clothing.

It seems as though people are getting the message, with Waterloo EMS saying there hasn’t been the expected increase in heat-related emergencies.

For those not trying to work out but simply trying to get from one place to another, GO Transit is warning passengers that the high temperatures could slow commuters in the area.

When temperatures exceed 30 C, steel rails can expand and even buckle, so speed restrictions are in effect.

Fire and water concerns

Many areas are asking residents to take precautions due to the extremely hot and dry conditions.

Complete outdoor fire bans are in place in Wilmot Township and North Dumfries Township as well as other areas amid concerns about the dry conditions.

A burn ban is also in effect in Perth County, although cooking fires in approved campgrounds are allowed.

Rules do vary, and people are urged to contact their township with any questions or concerns.

The dry conditions are also having an impact on newly planted trees in Kitchener and Waterloo, and the cities are having trouble keeping up with the needed watering.

Residents there are asked to help keep them alive by watering the trees, which need 90 litres of water twice per week.

Meanwhile, the Grand River Conservation Authority is asking people on the Whitemans Creek watershed in Brant and Oxford to cut consumption by 20 per cent.

The heat has led to dry conditions that have seen water levels in the creek drop to less than have the summer average.

Dog rescued, charges laid

In Guelph, despite repeated warnings about not leaving dogs in cars, a small dog had to be rescued shortly after 1 p.m. on Thursday.

Guelph police and the Guelph Humane Society were called on when a small dog was found locked inside a vehicle.

The temperature outside was already a scorching 31 C and inside it was found to be 43 C. The dog was distressed but is expected to make a full recovery.

A 25-year-old Guelph woman is being charged with causing suffering to an animal under the OSPCA Act.