Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Southern California heat wave expected to break after today

Staying cool
Wally Skalij / LAT
Narda Esperanza, 11, along with her brothers Paul, 6, and Jose, 2, pour water on each other to cool off in downtown Los Angeles.
By Jesus Sanchez, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
9:16 AM PDT, September 4, 2007
Southern California is expected to wither under more baking temperatures today before a weeklong heat wave finally gives way to cooler weather by midweek.

Temperatures will generally be lower today than they were over the holiday weekend, but conditions will remain hot, with highs expected from the mid-70s to the low 80s at the beaches to the low 90s in downtown Los Angeles and up to 106 in the Santa Clarita Valley, according to the National Weather Service.

SoCal presses to stay cool
It will be significantly cooler beginning Wednesday, according to forecasters, who predict high temperatures will drop by 10 degrees or more across much of the region.

The cool-down will bring a sigh of relief to firefighters battling several brush fires across the region and utility crews trying to restore power to thousands of residents.

East of Santa Clarita, firefighters endured 107-degree heat as they struggled to contain a blaze that had scorched 700 acres of steep, densely vegetated terrain in Angeles National Forest The fire flared Monday afternoon, doubling in size and prompting voluntary evacuations of 25 homes, said Bruce Quintelier, a spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service.

Using water-dropping aircraft, firefighters had the blaze 20% contained by Monday evening, Quintelier said. But given the continuing heat and dry conditions, the fire was a long way from containment, he said.

The fire's cause was under investigation.

About 275 firefighters had more cooperative conditions as they battled an 85-acre blaze at the east end of Big Bear Lake in San Bernardino National Forest. Crews had the fire 95% contained, but they evacuated two campgrounds and closed a five-mile stretch of California 18.

The heat wave knocked out power to more than 24,000 customers Monday.

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