RIVERSIDE (CNS) – With temperatures throughout Riverside County forecast to be the hottest of the year this weekend, combined with low humidity and offshore winds, the National Weather Service Thursday declared a Fire Weather Watch for the region.
“Any fires that develop will likely spread rapidly,” the NWS said in its advisory.
The watch is in effect from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. According to forecasters, while temperatures exceed 110 degrees in most areas of the Inland Empire, humidity will drop below 20%, exacerbated by easterly winds of 30 to 40 mph in some locations.
The San Gorgonio Pass, where the 34,000-acre “Apple Fire” erupted on July 31 and was recently contained, was identified as one of the most vulnerable places for wind-driven wildfires.
According to the Weather Service, a ridge of high pressure will build over California on Friday, fueling a dramatic increase in the heat that will persist through Labor Day weekend.
The NWS issued an Excessive Heat Warning for all of Riverside County, spanning 10 a.m. Friday to 8 p.m. Monday.
Highs in the Coachella Valley could reach 120 on Saturday and Sunday, while the mercury in the Riverside metropolitan area is likely to top 115, forecasters said.
The NWS urged residents to drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun and check on relatives and neighbors. Also, children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, where interiors are able to “reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” according to the NWS.
High temperatures Thursday are expected to settle at 110 in the Coachella Valley, 109 in Banning, 100 in Hemet, 98 in Riverside, 92 in Temecula and 88 in Idyllwild.