National Weather Service urges caution. Las Padres National Forest closed
As the heat waves and dry conditions increase the risk of wildfires, Santa Barbara County is encouraged by county, state and national officials to use extreme caution with potential fire ignition sources.
The county is also being advised to prepare and assemble emergency kits.
On Monday, the National Weather Services issued a “red flag warning” for the South Coast and mountains. The warning means critical fire weather conditions are either occurring now or will shortly as a result of gusty winds, low relative humidity and very hot temperatures.
“The very hot and unstable conditions will continue to bring a significant threat of large plume dominated fires,” the NWS warning stated. “Gusty Sundowner winds across southern Santa Barbara County and gusty northerly winds in the Los Angeles and Ventura county mountains will likely bring critical Red Flag fire weather conditions to these areas.”
The NWS also issued an Excessive Heat Warning for Santa Barbara County over Labor Day Weekend, encouraging residents to take precautions.
The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department told the county to “stay cool” by wearing lightweight, light-colored clothing, avoiding the outdoors during the hottest hours, knowing signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, and avoiding leaving children and pets in unattended vehicles.
The department also reminded residents to drink plenty of water throughout the day, eat cold snacks, place a cool washcloth on the back of the neck, keep shades closed, avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest hours, maintain physical distancing, and provide water and shade for animals.
Also on Monday, the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Region announced the temporary closure of Los Padres National Forest, along with the following national forests: Stanislaus, Sierra, Sequoia, Inyo, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland.
In addition, campers and visitors are prohibited from using any ignition source (campfires, gas stoves, etc.) on all National Forest System lands throughout the state.
“Most of California remains under the threat of unprecedented and dangerous fire conditions with a combination of extreme heat, significant wind events, dry conditions and firefighting resources that are stretched to the limit,” the U.S. Forest Service stated in its news release.