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Record heat across Southern California brings with it brush fires, power outages

Power outages, a rapidly spreading brush fire and plenty of record-breaking temperatures greeted Southern California on the first of a two-day Labor Day weekend heat wave.

Despite the call for a Flex Alert between 3 and 9 p.m. Saturday, some customers in the region lost power in sweltering heat, with many not anticipated to have it restored until after sundown, officials said.

Southern California Edison was experiencing most of the larger problems as of 4:30 p.m., with 122 total outages affecting more than 21,200 customers, according to Edison spokesman Ron Gales. That included1,752 customers in Alhambra, 1,429 customers in an unincorporated area near Calabasas, 833 customers in Long Beach, 4,413 in Monterey Park and about 2,300 in unincorporated Los Angeles County, according to Edison.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported about 14,000 customers were without power in its service area, with the most affected neighborhoods at 6 p.m. including Baldwin Hills/Crenshaw, Sun Valley, El Sereno, Reseda and Mid-City, according to the DWP’s Dawn Cotterell.

In San Bernardino County, Colton police were receiving reports of power outages in the city.

On Saturday night, officials warned there was a possibility of rotating power outages after a Stage 2 emergency was declared by grid operator the California ISO. Consumers were urged to conserve electricity.

The Stage 2 Emergency was later lifted.

Meanwhile, to the east, firefighters were trying to slow the spread of the El Dorado fire, which broke out near Yucaipa and Oak Glen about 10:40 a.m. Saturday and quickly spread to 1,000 acres by 4 p.m., forcing evacuations of residents in three communities whose homes were threatened, authorities said.

Another brush fire in Porter Ranch was quickly contained by Los Angeles city firefighters and held to four acres, fire officials said.

Across Southern California, records fell. In Los Angeles County, Burbank (113 degrees), Woodland Hills (117), Lancaster (110) and Palmdale (111) all broke records set in 1955, National Weather Service meteorologist Tim Fischer in Oxnard said.

The temperature in Woodland Hills was the hottest recorded temperature ever in L.A. County for the month of September, Fischer added.

In Orange County, Santa Ana reached 109 degrees, breaking a record set in 2004, Meteorologist Brandt Maxwell said.

In the Inland Empire, Riverside (117), Lake Elsinore (115) and San Jacinto (114) highlighted the days’ records. Even Big Bear broke a record with an 87-degree day, Maxwell said.

Record high temperatures were also reported in Chino (120) and Ontario (118), but the Weather Service said they were “unofficial” records because weather stations in those locations lack a 30-year period of record.

Other eye-opening temperatures that didn’t break records included Van Nuys (115), Pasadena (113) and Long Beach (101), Fischer said.

Los Angeles County beaches provided some relief with temperatures mostly in the 80s, bringing many to the beaches despite officials’ concerns of another surge in COVID-19 cases.

An excessive heat warning was in effect throughout Southern California and parts of the region, including Western Riverside County, were under a red flag warning for fire weather, Maxwell said.

Nightfall was anticipated to provide only a little relief, with many areas remaining in the high 70s or low 80s before temperatures ramp up even a tad hotter Sunday, Fischer said.

“It’s going to start off very warm tomorrow,” he said.

City News Service contributed to this story.

Source: Orange County Register

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