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UPDATE: Hot just like we thought

County officials say Castaic Lake closed for swimming all summer long

Posted: May 15, 2014 1:38 p.m.
Updated: May 15, 2014 10:20 p.m.

Kenny Mak, 72, of Encino rides his bicycle-powered pontoon boat on the lower lagoon of Castaic Lake on Thursday. Signal photo by Dan Watson

Temperatures rose to more than 100 scorching degrees in the Santa Clarita Valley on Thursday as forecasters called for a slow cool-down beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend.

According to the National Weather Service, the high in Saugus reached 102 degrees Thursday. Temperatures were expected to drop slightly on Friday - to the high 90s.

Thursday's heat had Bike to Work Day participants sweating and water-loving residents turning out at Castaic Lake for boating and fishing.

But no swimming was allowed, and Los Angeles County officials announced some bad news Thursday for those who enjoy the cooling waters of Castaic Lake for a summer swim.

Drought-induced receding water levels have created conditions that Department of Parks and Recreation officials have deemed unsafe, particularly for patrons who may lack advanced swimming skills.

“This is the first time Castaic Lake has been closed for swimming due to drought,” said department spokesman Andre Herndon.

Director Russ Guiney said that while the swim beach closure is unfortunate, safety is the department’s top priority.

“The state drought emergency is affecting many aspects of life in California, and we will not compromise on matters of safety,” Guiney said.

Thursday’s easing of Santa Ana winds helped firefighters gain the upper hand on nine fires burning in San Diego County since Tuesday, but one of the most serious blazes, the San Marcos fire, suddenly roared to life Thursday afternoon, burning close to homes and triggering thousands of new evacuation orders and keeping the situation tenuous.

Sheriff Bill Gore said the flare-up prompted more than 13,000 new evacuation notices in the San Marcos area and served as a “reminder to everybody just how volatile this can be.”

The new evacuations were in addition to more than 20,000 orders issued Wednesday. About 85,000 people live in San Marcos.

The fires this week have destroyed eight houses, an 18-unit condominium complex and two businesses and burned more than 15 square miles, causing more than $20 million in damage so far.

National Weather Service specialist Bonnie Bartling declared this week’s heat wave over after Thursday.

“We’ll see a return to temperatures in their 80s,” she said. “We’ll be back to the 70s after Sunday.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt



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