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Intense heat sparks fires, sends San Diegans to beaches

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Posted at 4:38 PM, Sep 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-30 20:22:48-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Intense heat is sparking fires and sending San Diegans to the coast seeking relief.

"The temperatures today are pretty extreme," Cal Fire Captain Thomas Shoots said, adding the brush is dry from the heat and lack of rain making Wednesday's forecasted record heat very dangerous.

A brush fire sparked in Ramona near Ramona St. and Boundary Ave around 11 a.m.

The triple-digit heat causing concern for Fire Chief Jason Lambirth with the U.S. Forest Service, "we really take care of our own people, keep a close eye on them, make sure they're hydrated with water and Gatorade and go from there."

Firefighters kept the blaze within a couple of acres, according to Shoots.

A huge relief to neighbors, like Leanne Plunkett who has lived in Ramona for 44 years.

"Oh I'm relaxed now, but it was pretty hectic for a while!" Plunkett said.

She was stepping into the shower when law enforcement knocked on their door to issue evacuation orders. Plunkett said she jumped out, threw on clothes, and started packing jewelry and important documents.

She said they had to evacuate twice in the past, including the Cedar Fire.

The heat taking its toll on San Diegans across the county. Many, like Oscar Fuentes from El Cajon, headed to the beach.

"It was starting to get to 110 degrees out there so we decided to hit the beach... It's a lot more tolerable that's for sure it's really nice, I expect it's going to be a lot better when we get in that water."

He's not alone according to Sgt. Lonnie Stephens with San Diego Fire Rescue's Lifeguard Division.

"We're still seeing elevated beach crowds on the weekends and during the weekdays." He said normally crowds dissipate after Labor Day but that hasn't happened yet.

"Throughout this heat, which has been ongoing for quite some time, yes we have had some citizens that have had some heat-related illness." He said it's important to wear loose-fitting clothing, drink plenty of water, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade when possible.

An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect until Thursday night.