The red flag warning was expected to last until Friday evening. The heat advisory was issued early Thursday morning for the Orange and San Diego county coastal areas and the Riverside and San Diego county mountains as well as the Santa Ana mountains and foothills. The advisory was expected to expire Saturday night for the coast and mountains and Sunday night for the valleys.
Temperatures hit 90 degrees by 9 a.m. Friday in downtown Los Angeles. Residents tried to escape the heat by indulging in cold treats and taking a dip in the Arthur J. Will Memorial Fountain at Grand Park.
Fashion District merchants and shoppers took shelter under umbrellas while others opted for hats. Organizers of Sunday's CicLAvia event were reminding residents to prepare for the heat.
"It's going to be a hot day, and luckily, Angelenos are used to that. I'm hoping everyone will take that into account, wear a hat, bring an extra water bottle," CicLAvia's Executive Director Aaron Paley said.
Meantime, parking restrictions in parts of Los Angeles prone to wildfire and where parked cars would delay evacuations, such as narrow roads and hairpin turns, may be enforced. Check lafd.org/redflag for details.
One such area is the Kirkwood Bowl area of the Hollywood Hills.
"Three inches on one side, and we're moving mirrors and trees on the other side. In some areas we couldn't get by at all," described Capt. Rich Moody with the Los Angeles Fire Department.
It's typically one way in and one way out on these narrow, windy streets. Despite the no parking signs, there were cars parked everywhere Friday morning.
"Because of the restricted access because of illegal parking, it's difficult for us to respond to emergencies," Moody said.
The fire danger is extreme because of the statewide drought. The past rainfall year went down as one of the driest ever on record.
All of these conditions have firefighters extremely concerned about a fire exploding in L.A. County.
"The winds can actually make a fire burn faster, longer and spot, which is a little bit of fire moving ahead of the fire. We can have spot fires moving up to 2 miles in advance if winds are high enough," Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Brian Jordan said.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department has beefed up many of its firefighting crews and stationed extra equipment in the areas of greatest concern, including Porter Ranch, Bel Air, Beverly Glen, UCLA, Sun Valley, Shadow Hills, La Tuna Canyon, Encino, Woodland Hills, Sylmar, Laurel Canyon and Mulholland Drive, Beverly Glen and Mulholland Drive, West Hills, Chatsworth Lake and Canoga Park areas.
Heat forces Long Beach Unified School District schools to close early
The Long Beach Unified School District dismissed its 76,000 students an hour early Thursday and Friday due to high heat in classrooms.
By mid-afternoon Friday, it was 99 in Long Beach, the same as the temperature in Death Valley, which calls itself the hottest place on the planet.
A district spokeswoman says 70 percent of its 84 schools don't have air conditioning.
With temperatures soaring, the Los Angeles Unified School District also decided to play it safe, cancelling all outdoor school activities in the San Fernando Valley.
Doctors say in this heat one could easily become ill.
"They can develop heat exhaustion where they have cramping muscles and dizziness, weakness, but it can progress to more severe conditions, for example, heat stroke, where the body actually loses its ability to regulate its temperature," said Dr. Paul Simon of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
For more information on how to deal with the extreme heat, visit the web site for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/disasters/extremeheat/.
The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.