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Wind, heat fuel small brush fires; warnings issued for Sunday

May 1, 2011 |  8:32 am

Trees, Power Lines No Match For Gusty Winds

Forecasters warned of another day of hot, windy conditions across Southern California on Sunday, with high temperatures reaching into the 90s in some inland and valley locations.

Wind gusts in some mountain and canyon areas were expected to exceed 40 mph, bringing the potential for more brush fires and downed trees.

Firefighters battled a small brush fire Sunday morning near Rio Honda College caused when winds blew down a power line.

On Saturday, trees were uprooted and branches torn from trunks in North Hills and Canoga Park and in the Inland Empire area, and a wind-blown fire torched several palm trees in Tarzana, authorities said.

Small grass fires also brought out firefighters in Acton, Malibu and Palmdale, but no structural damage was reported.

About 800 Encino customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were without electricity  early Saturday night and work crews were attempting to reroute cables in areas where lines had been knocked down, a department spokeswoman said.

Some 3,600 homes served by Southern California Edison Co. were left in the dark Saturday because of power lines downed by blowing branches and debris. Hardest hit were areas of Riverside, San Bernardino, Fontana and Redlands, a spokesman said.

Power was interrupted at various times Saturday for a total of 31,900 customers, including some in Santa Barbara and Tulare counties, the spokesman said. Most of those outages lasted one or two minutes as electrical switching equipment automatically shut down lines to avoid problems and then restarted on its own.

But more wind was predicted Sunday and early in the work week for Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties by U.S. Weather Service forecasters in Oxnard.

Forecasters said temperatures Sunday would range from the 70s along the beaches to 90s inland. They said the heat wave would continue through Thursday.

–- Bob Pool

Photo: KTLA-TV (Channel 5) News