High Temperatures Make For Health Hazards; Wildfires Contribute To Unhealthy Air
Updated: Friday morning, August 28, 2009: 5:25am
Santa Clarita is waking up to scattered power outages around our Valley and smoke blowing in from a fire in La Canada/Flintridge. There are no fires currently in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Triple-digit temperatures have prompted the Los Angeles County Public Health Department to issue health warnings for dealing with the heat in the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas. Temperatures are expected to reach 111 degrees Friday and Saturday, creating severe conditions for children, the elderly and pets.
The National Weather Service said the hot and dry conditions are expected to continue through Saturday with widespread triple-digit high temperatures in the valleys, foothills and deserts.The Morris Fire, burning above Glendora and Azusa and the Station Fire burning north of Highway 2 north of La Canada-Flintridge, have added a significant amount of smoke to the atmosphere and neither one is even half-way contained.
Information on the fires:
- The Morris Fire, where 1800 acres have burned since it started Tuesday afternoon, was 45 percent contained as of 8 a.m. and three people have been injured. No structures, commercial buildings or automobiles have been destroyed. San Gabriel Canyon and East Fork drainage has been evacuated and Highway 39, Glendora Mountain Road and East Fork Road have been closed.
- Access to the fire area, as well as adjacent roads and trails, is also restricted to those with specific permits, owners or lessees and residents to access their own property and those on official duty.
- In the Station Fire, 30 acres had burned as of 8 a.m. and the fire was 20 percent contained. No structures, buildings or automobiles were destroyed and no one was injured. Clear Creek Outdoor Education Center, Camp High Hill by Red Box was evacuated and California State Highway 2 at the Angeles National Forest boundary by La Canada and at Clear Creek junction on the North have been closed.
- Updated information on all fires in the area are available at www.inciweb.org.
Los Angeles County Health Officer and Public Health Director, Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, would like to remind everyone that precautions should be taken, especially by those people sensitive to the heat.
“While people don’t need to be told it’s hot outside, they do need to be reminded how to take care of themselves, children, the elderly, and their pets when the weather gets hotter,” Fielding said. “When temperatures are high, prolonged sun exposure may cause dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.
“Never leave children, elderly people, or pets unattended in closed vehicles, even with the windows ‘cracked,’ because temperatures inside can quickly rise to life-threatening levels.”
In areas of poor air quality, heat may worse the effects of that poor air quality. If you plan to be outdoors, take precautions to protect yourself from the heat. Symptoms of dehydration and heat cramps include dizziness, fatigue, faintness, headaches, muscle cramps, and increased thirst. Individuals with these symptoms should be moved to a cooler, shaded place and given water or sport drinks.
More severe symptoms such as diminished judgment, disorientation, pale and clammy skin, a rapid and weak pulse, and/or fast and shallow breathing may indicate heat exhaustion or impending heat stroke and requires immediate medical attention.
Several tips for beating the heat include:
• Wear light, loose-fitting clothing.
• Drink water or electrolyte-replacing sports drinks often (do not wait until you are thirsty), and avoid drinking alcohol.
• Offer help to those in your neighborhood with limited access to air conditioning and transportation, such as seniors or those who are ill. Check on them frequently or take them to a location with air conditioning.
• During peak heat hours stay in an air-conditioned area. If you don’t have access to air conditioning in your home, visit public facilities such as shopping malls, parks, and libraries to stay cool.
• Avoid unnecessary exertion, such as vigorous exercise during peak sun hours, if you are outside or in a non-air conditioned building.
• Stay out of the sun if you do not need to be in it. When in the sun, wear a hat, preferably with a wide brim, and loose-fitting clothing with long sleeves and pants to protect yourself from sun damage.