Dangerous Heat Strikes Southland


LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Abnormally high temperatures will engulf the Southland today, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory for several communities and warn area residents to guard against heat- related illnesses, and the U.S. Forest Service raised the danger level in the Angeles National Forest to “very high” because of an elevated danger of wildfire.

“Very high temperatures will create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible,” warned an NWS statement, adding that in today's weather, people or pets must not be left in parked vehicles because interior temperatures “can quickly rise to life-threatening levels,” even if windows are partially open.

The NWS issued a heat advisory that will be in effect from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and San Gabriel valleys as well as the Santa Monica Mountains Recreational Area.

“A Heat Advisory means that a period of hot temperatures is expected,” warned the NWS statement. “The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors.”

Also, “limit outdoor activities, especially during the hottest part of the day; drink plenty of fluids, avoiding cafeine and alcohol; dress in loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing,” the NWS recommended.

In a separate statement, the weather service warned that “temperatures will warm significantly” today “as Santa Ana winds develop across the area. This will be followed by a notable cooling trend and a chance of light rain late in the week and into the weekend.”

In the meantime, gusts as strong as 45 miles per hour may whip across mountain areas, and some communities will reach triple-digit territory or close to it. Highs are expected to hit 92 degrees in Downtown L.A., 94 in Yorba Linda, 98 in San Gabriel, 99 in Burbank, 100 in Pasadena and Saugus and 102 in Woodland Hills.

Temperatures in some communities will be 10 degrees or more above normal, said NWS meteorologist Kristen Stewart. Downtown L.A., where 82 is the normal high, will reach 92 today. Burbank, normally 85, will hit 99 degrees. She said the high heat and “low to moderate” Santa Ana Winds would combine to create “elevated fire danger” amid humidity levels of 8-15 percent near the coast.

The U.S. Forest Service, meanwhile, announced from its regional offices in Arcadia that with immediate effect, the Fire Danger Level will be raised to “Very High” across the Angeles National Forest.

“With annual grasses cured, temperatures rising, relative humidity dropping and fire activity across the state increasing, fire management officials have decided to raise the fire danger level,” according to a U.S Forest Service statement. “Elevating the fire danger enhances public awareness that wildfire probability increases as temperatures rise and brush dries out.”

But in spite of the new designation, there are no new campfire restrictions. Open wood and charcoal fires will still be permitted in approved developed campgrounds and picnic areas where a steel ring or stoves are provided. Propane or jellied gas stoves and grills are permitted in non- developed areas with a valid California Campfire Permit. Smoking is allowed in enclosed vehicles or developed recreation sites only.

“Drivers in the forest should stay on designated roads and never park on dry brush or grass, to avoid the risk of starting a fire. Human-caused wildfires account for 94 percent of all wildfires on the Angeles National Forest, which damage natural resources and threaten lives and property.”

The possibility of increased fire conditions prompted Southern California Edison to warn customers about potential “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” aimed at reducing the risk fires. Edison officials noted that the power cuts -- which would de-energize lines that might be in danger of being damaged in high-wind conditions -- are only “under consideration.” According to the utility, 89,500 customers throughout SCE's service area live in the neighborhoods being considered for potential rolling power cuts.

In Los Angeles County, there are roughly 9,000 customers facing possible cuts, primarily in the northern reaches of the county such as Lancaster, Palmdale, along with areas including Acton, Agua Dulce, Littlerock, Llano, Leona Valley and Pearblossom.

The NWS by 9:30 a.m. had not issued any red flag warnings, and no special parking restrictions on hilly L.A. streets were requested by the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The NWS forecast sunny skies in L-A County Tuesday and highs of 79 in Avalon; 84 on Mount Wilson86 at LAX; 90 in Long Beach; 92 in Downtown L.A.; 93 in Palmdale; 94 in Lancaster; 98 in San Gabriel; 99 in Burbank; 100 in Pasadena and Saugus; and 102 in Woodland Hills. Temperatures will drop by up to 17 degrees Wednesday and by up to another 11 degrees Thursday, this time under mostly cloudy skies.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County Tuesday, along with highs of 75 on Santiago Peak; 77 in Laguna Beach; 78 in San Clemente; 79 in Newport Beach; 88 on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 92 in Fullerton, Irvine and Mission Viejo; 94 in Trabuco Canyon; 96 in Anaheim and Fremont Canyon; and 97 in Yorba Linda. Temperatures will fall by up to 12 degrees Wednesday and by up to another six degrees Thursday under partly cloudy skies.

Photo: Getty Images

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