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Intense heat wave, brush fires hit Southern California

August 10, 2012 |  3:26 pm

Intense heat and dry conditions sparked several brush fires around Southern California, and officials said the heat wave will continue through Sunday.

A fire broke out near Chino Airport on Friday afternoon, and firefighters were battling it.

In Ventura County, firefighters contained a fast-moving brush fire that for a time stymied traffic on the 101 Freeway near the Conejo Grade. More than 75 Ventura County firefighters aided by air support contained the blaze off the 101 near Wendy Drive to 27 acres.

PHOTOS: Hot weather continues

A brush fire in northeast San Diego County that began with a lightning strike on Thursday has burned 1,650 acres, CalFire announced Friday.

Called the Chihuahua fire, the blaze was about 10% contained as of midday, officials said.

Record high temperatures in Lancaster and Woodland Hills topped out at 109 degrees, with a record of 95 at Sandberg in the Antelope Valley. The hot weather is expected to continue Friday, with a slight cooling trend on Sunday or Monday.

The triple-digit heat in the Inland Empire may have led to the death of a 49-year-old San Bernardino woman who was found lying next to her wheelchair Wednesday, a coroner's official said.

Cindy Marie Grycel was found unresponsive on the ground in the 1100 block of East 40th Street in San Bernardino around 12:30 p.m., officials said. She was transported to a local hospital, where she died late Thursday evening, they said.

San Bernardino County medical examiners said Grycel's death appeared to be related to the heat, but an autopsy has been scheduled to determine if any other factors may have contributed, according to Sandy Fatland, a spokeswoman for the coroner's office.

Investigators believe that Grycel was a transient, Fatland said.

Because Grycel has no known family, coroner's officials are urging anyone with information about her to contact them at (909) 387-2978.

No other heat-related deaths have been reported since the current wave of high temperatures began, Fatland said. The temperature in San Bernardino is expect to hit 108 degrees on Friday.

A "flex alert" was issued Thursday, asking consumers to set their air conditioners to 78 and turn them off when they are away from home. The alert was lifted for the weekend, though Californians are still being urged to conserve energy.


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-- Shelby Grad in Los Angeles, Phil Willon in Riverside and Tony Perry in San Diego