Record-breaking heat is descending on Southern California on Friday, bringing new fire dangers as well as health concerns for people who have to endure the conditions.
“Today will be one for the record books. Almost all if not all of the daily records will fall today. It is likely that several monthly records will fall and it’s possible that 1 or 2 all time records will be made today,” the National Weather Service said in its most recent statement.
Here is what you have to know:
Q: How hot is it going to be?
An excessive-heat watch is in effect for much of southwestern California for Friday and Saturday, the weather service said. Temperatures in the valleys, the lower mountains and desert locations are expected to range between 102 and 112 degrees. Parts of the coast could reach around 100 degrees.
The heat will be accompanied by very dry conditions, forecasters said, with the potential for low humidity. Northerly winds will also blow through portions of the region, with gusts up to 35 mph hitting the Santa Barbara coast.
Q: Does this increase the fire danger?
Those winds along with the heat and dry conditions heighten the chance of fires.
Wearing heavy outfits and gear, firefighters can quickly become exhausted working 12- to 24-hour shifts. While the heat beats them down, it can also add strength to the fire they’re trying to extinguish, said Anthony Brown, a spokesman with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“It’s going to dry out the fuels on the ground and if it’s windy, that’s going to contribute to fire growth,” Brown said.
On Thursday, brush fires broke out in Irwindale and in the Santa Susana Pass. But firefighters were able to contain them.
A red flag warning was in effect this morning and will continue into the weekend.
Q: How about the beach?
The beaches will be cooler than inland but still very hot. A high surf advisory is in effect, with swells between 4 and 12 feet.
“There is an increased risk for ocean drowning,” the NWS said. “Rip currents can pull swimmers and surfers out to sea. Large breaking waves can cause injury, wash people off beaches and rocks, and capsize small boats near shore.”
Q: How about inland?
It’s going to be hot and dangerous.
Some of the most popular trails in San Diego County will be off-limits this weekend because of extreme heat. And officials are cautioning everyone to avoid hiking, with temperatures expected to soar into triple digits in many inland and mountain areas.
The Cedar Creek and Three Sisters Falls trails east of Ramona in the Cleveland National Forest are under an emergency closure order effective now through Monday because of the anticipated heat wave and considerable public health and safety concerns, forest officials announced recently.
The Iron Mountain and Mt. Woodson trails in Poway will also be shut down Friday and Saturday for the same reasons, though there are no plans to deny access to Mt. Woodson (and nearby Potato Chip Rock) from the east side of the mountain off state Route 67.
Rene Carmichael, a spokeswoman for Poway, said the city started shutting down the two trails last year after one busy weekend in July.
“The city decided we were putting rescue personnel at risk and letting visitors be at risk so we started implementing the closures,” she said.
Stay cool with tips from the National Weather Service
- Drink plenty of water and avoid strenuous activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Wear light clothing and dress for the heat.
- Stay cool indoors. Look for an air-conditioned facility. Here’s a list of cooling centers in Los Angeles County.
- Never leave kids, seniors and pets alone in a locked vehicle.
- Check on neighbors who might be vulnerable to the heat, especially those without air conditioning.
- If you work or play outside, take frequent breaks to hydrate and cool off in the shade.
- Don't forget the pets. Keep pets indoors if possible. If kept outside, give them plenty of water and shade to rest in.
- Symptoms of heat-related illness include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps and increased thirst. If you experience these symptoms, seek medical attention.
Here’s what you can do to stop a fire from starting
- Make sure if you’re pulling any cargo, you are not dragging any chains or metal through dry brush. That can spark a fire.
- Remove overgrown brush from your property.
- Extinguish any fires left at recreational sites.