Heat Wave Raises Wildfire Fears

By City News Service

Oppressive summer heat continued to bake parts of the Southland Wednesday, and forecasters warned that dry, gusting winds will create a heightened risk of wildfires when the heat wave continues Thursday.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be in effect from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday in the Los Angeles County mountains and Angeles National Forest, indicating conditions ripe for wildfires.

“Onshore winds are expected to strengthen on Thursday with gusts between 25 to 25 mph in the Los Angeles County mountains, strongest through the

highway 14 corridor into the Antelope Valley foothills,” according to the NWS.

“With this expected wind increase, continued heat and low humidities, and drying vegetation, critical fire conditions are expected.”

Forecasters said “locally critical fire conditions” are expected in the Antelope Valley foothills.

The NWS had earlier issued a fire weather watch for the Antelope Valley on Thursday, but it later canceled that watch.

In addition to the gusting winds in the mountains, humidity levels were expected to dip to between 3 and 15 percent, with the lowest levels in higher elevation areas.

Meanwhile, a strong ridge of high pressure remained parked over Arizona, and it is expected to continue bringing us elevated temperatures through the rest of the week. Temperatures in the Antelope Valley are expected between 106 and 110 degrees through Friday, dipping to between 104 and 108 over the weekend.

Excessive heat warnings that had been expected to end late Thursday were extended through the weekend for some area. The warning will be in effect until 9 p.m. Sunday for the Antelope Valley and the Los Angeles County Mountains excluding the Santa Monica range.

A less-severe heat advisory expired at 9 p.m. Wednesday for the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys and the Santa Monica Mountains, but residents in those areas, especially in areas in canyons and hillsides with narrow streets, were urged to keep track of weather conditions that could prompt more red flag warning.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that the heat can still be dangerous.

“The very high temperatures could create a dangerous situation in which heat-related illnesses are possible,” according to the NWS. “Temperatures inside vehicles, even if the windows are partially open, can quickly rise to life-threatening levels.

“Never, ever leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a short period of time.”

People who work outdoors were urged to schedule strenuous activity for early morning or evening, wear lightweight clothing and drink plenty of water.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the statewide power grid, again issued a Flex Alert for Wednesday. It took effect at 2 p.m. and remained in force until 9 p.m., just like on Tuesday.

A Flex Alert is issued when the electrical grid is “under stress,” generally from increased power usage due to hot weather.

As part of the alert, residents were urged to make an extra effort to conserve during late afternoon hours, when air conditioners tend to be used most. The agency predicted peak usage on Wednesday would exceed 46,600 megawatts, and noted that widespread air-condition use can put strain on the electrical system.

 

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June 22, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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