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Torrid temperatures that have broiled the Southland for much of the week persisted Saturday amid a massive brush fire in the Burbank area and continued calls for residents to conserve electricity.

The “dangerously high temperatures” are the result of a strong high pressure and weak onshore flow, according to the National Weather Service.

Downtown Los Angeles reached 97 degrees Saturday, while Pasadena reached 100 degrees and Palmdale had a high of 107.

Temperatures reached 100 degrees in Burbank, where hundreds of firefighters battled the La Tuna brush fire. That blaze, at 5,000 acres and growing, is being called the largest fire in Los Angeles city history.

The beaches were not much better, with the temperature in Redondo Beach Saturday reaching a toasty 94.

Excessive heat warnings will remain in force until 10 p.m. Saturday in the San Fernando, Santa Clarita, San Gabriel and Antelope valleys, the San Gabriel and Santa Monica mountains and along what the NWS calls the coast, which includes beach cities, metropolitan Los Angeles and the Hollywood Hills.

An excessive heat warning is in effect in inland Orange County, while a less serious heat advisory is in force in the county’s coastal communities.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s power grid, issued a statewide Flex Alert for Friday, and continued to call for voluntary electricity conservation Saturday.

“Consumers are urged to conserve electricity especially during the late afternoon when air conditioners typically are at peak use,” according to Cal- ISO.

About 2,100 customers were without power Saturday afternoon in the Tujunga area due to the La Tuna fire, according to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District warned that smoke from the fire has caused poor air quality that will affect everyone in the general fire area. According to the SCAQMD, unhealthy air quality will exist in portions of the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley, the San Gabriel Mountains and the Glendale area.

“It is difficult to tell where ash or soot from a fire will go, or how winds will affect the level of dust particles in the air, so we ask all individuals to be aware of their immediate environment and to take actions to safeguard their health,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “Smoke and ash can be harmful to health, especially in vulnerable individuals, like the elderly, people with asthma or individuals with other respiratory and heart conditions.”

Gunzenhauser urged all individuals in the above areas, or areas where there is visible smoke or the odor of smoke, to avoid unnecessary outdoor exposure and to limit physical exertion, whether indoor or outdoor.

Residents who may lose power during the heat wave, especially the elderly or individuals with sensitive health conditions, are advised not to shelter in place, but instead to take advantage of their local cooling center. A list of cooling centers can be found on the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, or by calling the L.A. County Information line at 211 from any landline or cell phone within the county.

The weather service again urged area residents to protect themselves and their loved ones from such heat-related illnesses as heat strokes by avoiding strenuous work during peak temperatures, staying hydrated, wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing, checking on friends and neighbors — especially the elderly — and by never leaving children, seniors or pets in cars parked in hot weather, even for a short time and even with windows cracked open.

The NWS expects only minimal cooling overnight, but lower temperatures are predicted for Sunday. Increased cloud cover, humidity and a chance of thunderstorms are also expected Saturday evening and Sunday.

—City News Service

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