Fire Weather Threatens Southland

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Heat wave conditions are settling on the Southland, prompting the National Weather Service to warn today of near-critical fire weather from Thursday through Saturday.

The Weather Service warned of hot, very dry conditions, with humidity levels in the single digits, and strong gusty winds -- the basic elements of fire weather. But no red flag warnings were immediately issued.

Temperatures between Thursday and Saturday are expected to range between 85 and 90 along the coast, 85 to 95 in the mountains, 95 to 105 in most valley areas and the foothills, and 100 to 106 in the Antelope Valley.

Forecasters said this morning that Woodland Hills, which is expected to hit a high of 96 today, will top out at 105 Thursday, 107 Friday, 105 Saturday and 99 Sunday, though other San Fernando Valley communities will be marginally lower. The Santa Clarita Valley will bear temperatures almost as high as the San Fernando Valley.

Both valleys will be about as hot as the Antelope Valley, which is always very hot at this time of the year. Lancaster will reach 104 today and Thursday and 105 Friday, 106 Saturday, and 105 Sunday, forecasters said.

At the same time, a number of Orange County communities will experience temperatures in the mid to high 90s.

Under these conditions, residents should protect themselves and their loved ones, forecasters said. Area residents should restrict outdoor activities to early-morning and evening hours, wear lightweight clothing, and never, ever leave children, senior or pets in vehicles parked in hot weather, even with the windows open, as car interiors can quickly reach lethal temperatures.

A heat advisory will be in effect from 11 a.m. Thursday to 9 p.m. Saturday in the San Gabriel, San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys and both the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains. No special advisories were issued for the Antelope Valley because temperatures of 100+ there are not regarded as anything remotely extraordinary.

The NWS forecast partly cloudy skies near the coast today and in metropolitan Los Angeles but sunny skies in the valleys, along with highs of 71 degrees at LAX; 75 in Avalon; 79 in Downtown L.A.; 82 in Long Beach; 86 on Mount Wilson; 88 in San Gabriel and Burbank; 90 in Pasadena; 94 in Saugus; 96 in Woodland Hills; and 104 in Palmdale and Lancaster.

Sunny skies were forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 73 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 74 in Newport Beach; 82 on Santiago Peak; 85 in Irvine; 86 in Fullerton, at Fremont Canyon and on Ortega Highway at 2,600 feet; 89 in Mission Viejo and Yorba Linda; and 90 at Trabuco Canyon. Thursday's temperature will be up to 7 degrees higher.

Photo: Getty Images

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