Scorching temps prompt fire concerns across the Southland

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (KABC) -- As hot and dangerous temperatures are expected to sweep across the Southland for the next several days, crews are preparing for fire dangers.

In La Canada Flintridge, extra firefighters were staffed to help should any fires or health hazards happen. An excessive heat warning has been issued for almost the entire Southland, and forecasts show some heat records may be broken.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department station in Santa Clarita declared a heat emergency from Monday until Wednesday.

At the scene of the Canyon Fire in Lake Elsinore, a reporter asked U.S. Forest Service Firefighter Brian Page if he was looking forward to a week of temperatures above 110 degrees.

"Oh yeah, definitely," the fireman said, perhaps sarcastically, with a smile and a chuckle.

Page was among the first responders after the blaze erupted amid sweltering conditions on Sunday afternoon. Twenty-four hours later, the fire was 40 percent contained.

"It was hot, it was really dry," Page said of the burn area. "It was, to be honest, pretty miserable."

One firefighter had to make a special trip back to the fire station just to get more ice.

Page said he and his colleagues were drinking water "constantly" to remain hydrated.

"We're pounding water the whole time, and a lot of times you're already behind the curve," Page said. "We carry a lot of water in our packs, and it's difficult to keep up."

Capt. Lucas Spelman, of Cal Fire and the Riverside County Fire Department, said the agencies "train every day for things like this, but it definitely takes a toll" on firefighters.

"We just hope that people stay inside during those times of day when it's very warm," Spelman said. "Get your workouts in - or your any kind of work you need to do - early in the morning or in the evening when the sun's down."
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