September 6, 2020 at 6:30 pm PDT | by Brody Levesque
Wildfire red flag warning as one resident dies from probable heat related complications

The LA County Sheriff’s Department Malibu Search and Rescue team responding Saturday to heat-related rescue.    Picture via LASDMSAR Facebook page

WOODLAND HILLS – The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation shut down hiking trails in the Santa Monica Mountains after a woman died while hiking on a trail near the city of Calabasas Saturday.

The announcement by Parks & Rec came as the National Weather Service recorded a historic all-time high temperature for the region in Woodland Hills on Sunday of 121 degrees Fahrenheit.

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told the Blade and other local media outlets on Sunday that the woman, whose name wasn’t released, had fallen ill complaining of being sick and then collapsed on a trail in the Santa Monica mountains near Calabasas. Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Juanita Navarro said that “The cause and manner of death had not been determined, but foul play wasn’t suspected”

The LA County Sheriff’s Department Malibu Search and Rescue, tweeted Saturday that the unit had responded to numerous heat-related rescue calls including the woman hiker who later passed away.

According to the National Weather Service, there were numerous record-setting temperatures across the state Sunday. In addition to the 121 degrees recorded in Woodland Hills, the Burbank Airport, had the temperature reach 114 degrees, Van Nuys Airport with 116 degrees and Palmdale Airport with 111 degrees. Other parts of the LA Metroplex also reached record setting 3 digit highs. In Malibu, the seaside community recorded a high temp of 102 at noon Sunday.

The high heat has prompted the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the operation of the state’s bulk electric power system to declare a Stage 2 emergency, which has set in motion a series of rotating power outages statewide.

A spokesperson for Southern California Edison said that there were 122 outages affecting more than 21,000 customers on Saturday. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said that approximately 14,000 people were without power in the Saturday afternoon.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging Angelenos to turn off “power-sucking appliances, dial down their thermostats and shut off extra lights.”

We need every Californian to help conserve energy,” Garcetti said in a media statement. “Please do your part.”

The National Weather Service also issued its highest fire alert — a red flag warning — for the mountains of Los Angeles and Ventura counties beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday Low humidity, gusty winds and hot temperatures would increase the threat of “extreme fire behavior,” a spokesperson told the Blade.

We’re witnessing weather conditions that can quickly generate dangerous and fast-moving wildfires, especially in communities that are near foothills, canyons and wild-land areas,” stated Kevin McGowan, Director of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.

“Emergency response professionals will act quickly and expertly, but they need the cooperation of LA County residents to keep as many neighborhoods as safe as possible. We urge all residents to practice wildfire readiness and safety now. Have a plan to evacuate, pack supplies to quickly leave if needed, and track breaking news to stay informed.”

The warnings were issued as firefighters continued to fight massive blazes across the state NBC News 4 LA reported. In the Sierra National Forest, dozens of campers were rescued Saturday after a fire that began the day before jumped a river and trapped them in their campground.

The Los Angles County Department of Public Health sent a warning out to all residents reminding them to take precautions to avoid heat-related illness, especially older adults, young children, outdoor workers, athletes, and people with a chronic medical condition who are especially sensitive to negative health impacts from extreme heat.

Public Health offers the following recommendations during high temperature days:

Drink plenty of water and keep hydrated throughout the day.

If you must go out, plan your day to avoid going out during the hottest hours, and wear sunscreen. Wear lightweight, light-colored clothes, and bring a hat or umbrella with you.

Cars get very hot. Never leave children or pets in cars and call 911 if you see a child or pet in a car alone.

Beware of heat-related illness, like heat stroke and call 911 if you see these symptoms: high body temperature, vomiting, and pale and clammy skin.

Check on those at risk, like those who are sick, older adults, pregnant women, and children, and those who live alone.

Avoid strenuous work outs wearing face coverings or masks not intended for athletic purposes; this means avoiding contact with others while you work out.

Visit your power company’s website or contact them by phone to determine if you are scheduled for a rolling power outage.

While it is very important that everyone take special care of themselves, it is equally important that we reach out and check on others, in particular those who are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of high temperatures, including children, the elderly, and their pets,” said Dr. Muntu Davis, Los Angeles County’s Health Officer.

High temperatures are not just an inconvenience, they can be dangerous and even deadly. But we can protect ourselves, our families, and our neighbors if we take steps to remain cool and hydrated. It is critically important to never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in homes with no air conditioning and particularly in vehicles, even if the windows are ‘cracked’ or open, as temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels. If you have an elderly or infirm neighbor who is without air conditioning, check on them throughout the day.”

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