Prolonged heat wave expected to bring triple-digit heat, elevated fire risk to SoCal

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A man sits on the San Gabriel River jetty in Long Beach during Labor Day weekend in 2020. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A man sits on the San Gabriel River jetty in Long Beach during Labor Day weekend in 2020. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A fall heat wave is set to descend upon Southern California starting this weekend, potentially bringing triple-digit temperatures and elevated fire danger to the region, according to the National Weather Service.

The latest prolonged heat wave is expected to be less intense than the last one, which brought record-breaking temperatures to Los Angeles County over Labor Day weekend.

Nevertheless, some areas will reach at least 100 degrees, and officials warn that fire danger will increase due to the hot and arid conditions, according to the weather service’s Oxnard office, which covers L.A. County.

The heat wave is expected to last from Sunday until Friday, Oct. 2.

“Extreme” fire behavior is a major concern, along with large smoke plumes from any new or existing wildfires, forecasters said.

Meanwhile, foothill and mountain areas of Riverside and San Bernardino counties will see near-critical fire weather conditions on Sunday and Monday, and an elevated fire risk Tuesday and potentially through the rest of the next week.

Potentially dangerous Santa Ana winds are also forecast to return to the area on Sunday, with the strongest gusts expected Monday.

The L.A. County health officer has issued an extreme heat warning for the western San Fernando Valley. The warning goes into effect Sunday and will last through Wednesday, according to a news release from the county’s Department of Public Health.

Additionally, a heat alert will be in effect for the following areas and time periods:

  • Antelope Valley — Saturday through Wednesday
  • East San Fernando Valley — Sunday through Wednesday
  • East San Gabriel Valley —Sunday through Wednesday
  • Santa Clarita Valley — Sunday through Wednesday
  • West San Gabriel Valley — Monday through Wednesday
  • Los Angeles Basin — Monday through Wednesday

“While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out and check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures, including children, the elderly, and their pets,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, L.A. County’s health officer. “High temperatures are not just an inconvenience, they can be dangerous and even deadly.”

The weather service has some tips to keep cool during the latest wave. They include limiting outdoor activity between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m., avoiding hiking or prolonged exposure during the heat, seeking shade or air conditioning, and drinking plenty of water.

In addition, they remind everyone to never leave children or pets alone in a hot vehicle, and to avoid fire-related activities.  

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