Five-day heat wave rolls into Southland, bringing ‘elevated fire danger’

A woman shields herself from the sun in downtown Los Angeles.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

Sizzling temperatures settled across the Southland on Saturday, marking the start of a five-day heat wave and intensifying already harsh wildfire conditions.

Although the hot and dry weather will stick around through Wednesday, National Weather Service meteorologist Scott Sukup said temperatures would peak on Sunday and Monday.

Parts of the San Fernando Valley saw some of the hottest temperatures, including Van Nuys, which hit 100 degrees, and Woodland Hills, which reached 102. Lancaster recorded a high of 105.


The National Weather Service released a warning, saying the long-lasting heat wave — caused by a high-pressure system in the upper part of the atmosphere — could bring “an increased risk of heat-related illness, especially for the homeless, elderly, infants, and anyone participating in outdoor activities.”

If people are planning to head outside over the next few days, the National Weather Service warned, they should stay out of the midday sun, wear light-colored clothing and drink lots of water.

Sukup said people should expect an “elevated fire danger” — an unwelcome warning in a year in which wildfires have already destroyed homes, killed people and scorched tens of thousands of acres.

The Soberanes fire, a deadly blaze burning north of Big Sur, has already wiped out nearly 60 homes, burned more than 71,000 acres and claimed the life of a bulldozer operator.

California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials said the fire, which started with an illegal campfire, is 60% contained.

Another blaze — the Pilot fire — began burning through chaparral-lined mountains in San Bernardino County last Sunday and has charred more than 8,000 acres. The fire, according to the U.S. Forest Service, is 96% contained.

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5:54: This story has been updated with new temperatures.

This article was originally published at 10:35 a.m.