Inland health officials issue heat warnings, prepare for fires

The heat will continue to roast the Southland through the weekend. High humidity and surprise thunder storms have already turned up the Inland Empire.

On top of the triple-digit heat, more isolated storms are possible. Lightning sparked several fires in the Temecula Valley -- including one that damaged homes in Lake Elsinore.

An excessive heat warning hasalso been issued through Saturday evening for the Santa Clarita, San Fernando, and Ventura County Valleys as well.

Weather experts say a hot air mass will remain in place over the warned areas through the weekend from a stong high pressure system over the southwest desert.

Near record high temperatures are expected across much of the areas through Saturday, with fahrenheits expected to climb over 100 degrees.

The high temperatures and a bit of moisture will also combine to create humidity which is uncharacteristic to these areas.

The California Air Guard has a fire-fighting C-130 on standby through the weekend. The big-bellied aircraft has unloaded several thousand gallons of fire retardant on Temecula Valley brush fires. It’s geared up to respond to fires across the Southland.

Free “cool centers” are open for people who need shelter from the heat. Public health officials also advise everyone to avoid strenuous outdoor activity, drink lots of water and steer clear of drinks loaded with caffeine, sugar or alcohol. It’s also a good idea to monitor older folks, kids and pets for signs of heat distress.