Weekend heat wave brings fire danger, calls to conserve energy

Weather

ESCONDIDO, Calif. – A heat wave extending into the weekend has prompted state officials to call for residents to cut back on their power usage as temperatures soar.

In San Diego County, fire crews are watching the temperatures rise and gearing up for whatever may come.

“We have a year-round fire season in San Diego because we do,” Cal Fire San Diego Capt. Thomas Shoots said. “But there are certain parts of the year that are even more critical and this is one of those times.”

An excessive-heat warning will run from 9 a.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Monday in the local deserts, and a less urgent high-temperature advisory will be in effect until 8 p.m. Monday in the mountains. Deserts highs could reach 120 degrees on Saturday and 118 on Sunday, while temperatures in the mountains is expected to reach 102 Saturday and 101 Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.

At the height of the hot spell, lows temperatures in the deserts likely will drop no further than the upper 80s to low 90s, making for minimal relief even at night, forecasters advised.

The extreme swelter will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses, particularly for those working or participating in outdoor activities, authorities cautioned.

With dry conditions converging on scorching summer heat, firefighters are gearing up for quick actions should the need arise. For the past few hot days, Shoots said fire calls have been lighter, and they believe that it won’t last with the next major brush fire always around the corner.

But it’s not just the fire danger that worries them, according to Shoots.

“The availability of air conditioning for our rural residents who are out there in 100-plus degree temperatures and all that stuff can potentially add challenges to our plate,” he said.

While fire crews are readying for whatever is to come, restaurants like BAPS! in Escondido also are bracing for the heat.

“A lot of people don’t want to be out in the heat,” restaurant owner Brad Solley said. “We’ve adapted and put misters outside outside just to try to help cool it down some.”

Solley also has another trick up his sleeve to get people in the door when temperatures climb.

“We do bottomless mimosas seven days a week for $7.99,” he said, “so that’s definitely a draw.”

To help residents beat the heat, San Diego County has opened public “Cool Zone” locations in Alpine, Borrego Springs, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Potrero, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Spring Valley and Valley Center.

The list of the locations can be found here.

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