LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — With the first scorching heat wave of the year about to hit Southern California, residents were warned to protect themselves, their loved ones and their pets and to try to conserve energy.

Temperatures are forecast to climb sharply starting Saturday, and Monday could see temperatures between 100 and 110 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Next week’s “dangerously hot conditions” will be the result of “an extremely strong area of high pressure” over Arizona and New Mexico, NWS forecasters say. Some relief is expected in coastal and valley areas Tuesday, but the San Gabriel Mountains and Santa Clarita Valley “will remain dangerously hot,” forecasters said.

The high heat, plus low humidity, “will likely bring an extended period of elevated fire danger across much of southwest California Saturday through Tuesday, the NWS said.

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An excessive heat watch will be in force in most of L.A. County from Monday morning through the evening, but will expire on Tuesday night in the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

Forecasters say people should schedule outdoor work only early in the morning or in the evening, wear light and loose clothing, drink plenty of water and guard against heat stroke and heat exhaustion. People were also warned to not leave children, pets or the elderly inside a car, even with the windows down.

Also of concern is the state’s power grid, prompting Los Angeles Department of Water and Power officials to urge customers to reduce their energy use whenever possible.

“During times of extreme heat, we strongly encourage customers to conserve electricity as long as it does not jeopardize their health,” DWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said. “Doing simple things such as turning up your thermostat to 78 degrees and turning off your lights will save electricity use and reduce the risk of outages.”

DWP officials noted that outages can occur during episodes of high heat when residents and businesses crank up their air conditioners at the same time. According to the utility, conservation is particularly essential from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The utility recommended that customers save energy by:
— turning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher;
— turning off unnecessary lights;
— adjusting water heaters to 120 degrees;
— using major appliances only late in the evening or early in the morning; and
— turning off pool pumps.

Residents can prepare for possible power outages by having flashlights and batteries readily available and keeping a battery-operated radio handy. DWP officials also recommended that people keep a phone charger in a car to ensure they can contact friends or relatives during an outage, keep a supply of non-perishable food and have a cooler available to use for food that needs to be refrigerated.

Cooling centers can be found in Los Angeles (PDF), San Bernardino (PDF) and Riverside (PDF) counties or by calling 211.

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