Hot Weather Leads to Fire and Health Warnings

Electricity Conservation Appeal Sent by Grid Operator

Credit: Courtesy

The high heat blasting Santa Barbara County on Saturday is expected to continue through Monday, raising temperatures 10 to 20 degrees above normal — with little cooling during the night. 

The weather pattern is expected to create strong winds this evening through Monday, a combination that has caused the National Weather Service to declare Red Flag fire danger conditions for Santa Barbara County’s south coast and mountain areas as of 6 p.m. Saturday through 10 p.m. Monday, which is Labor Day. Santa Barbara County Fire’s press officer Mike Eliason reports that sundowner winds are expected to bring very dry weather and even hotter temperatures with it.

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While fire dangers may be less by Tuesday, the dangerous heat — especially in valley and inland areas — is forecast to persist for a solid week, with temperatures well above normal through next Saturday, according to the National Weather Service.

The 239 (brown) and 252 (pink) fire weather zones are under a Red Flag Warning through Monday. | Credit: Courtesy

To avoid the dizzy or sick feeling of heat exhaustion, Public Health recommends drinking cool water or bathing in it, and wearing light-colored, loose clothing. A lack of hydration can lead to the life-threatening condition of heat stroke, in which a person feels extremely hot but stops sweating — such symptoms are worth a call to 9-1-1, Public Health advises. For those working outdoors, the cooler mornings and evenings are best, and people should take frequent breaks in the shade or air-conditioned areas. Pets, children, and elderly persons are equally vulnerable to the heat.

Air conditioners are whirring across California, and the state’s electrical grid operator has called on Californians to conserve electricity in order to avoid local outages. The California Independent System Operator’s Flex Alert requests that air conditioners be set at 78 degrees, curtains be drawn and fans used, and electricity-sucking appliances like electric dryers, ovens, and dishwashers be used in the early morning or late evening hours.

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