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Sweltering heat sets records; brush fires scorch three areas

Blazes are put out, but high temperatures are expected to continue.

May 17, 2008|David Pierson | Times Staff Writer

Record-breaking heat in parts of Southern California is expected to continue through the weekend, and it made for uncomfortable conditions Friday as firefighters dealt with two new brush fires.

Forecasters say temperatures in the mid-90s and the triple digits will remain until Sunday in some areas such as Woodland Hills and Chatsworth.

"There's a monster high-pressure [system] parked over California," said Ryan Kittell, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. "It's centered over Northern California, but it's so large that we're feeling it too."

Woodland Hills hit a new record for the date Friday, reaching a high of 101 degrees. Other highs included Little Tujunga, 101; Burbank, 98; and Claremont, 98. Yorba Linda hit 100; Fullerton 102; and Santa Ana tied its 1956 record of 96 degrees.

Records were broken Thursday in San Francisco (97), Santa Rosa (100) and San Jose (99). In Southern California, the 101 degrees on Thursday in Woodland Hills tied a record, and the 100 in Ojai set a new record by one degree, Kittell said.

Firefighters had to deal with the heat Friday as they fought a blaze burning near homes in Pomona off Blue Ridge Drive. The other fire burned in Corona off Retreat Way, near Interstate 15.

Both burned a few acres but were put out quickly. Meanwhile, firefighters continued to battle a 420-acre brush fire near Mt. Baldy, which started earlier this week.

The heat is not as dry as during Santa Ana season because an afternoon sea breeze has been keeping coastal and nearby areas relatively cool and humid, Kittell said.

That's why Los Angeles International Airport topped out at 77 on Thursday, he said.

Kittell said the San Gabriel, San Fernando, Santa Clarita, Antelope and Pomona valleys will take the brunt of the heat.

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david.pierson@latimes.com

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