Nature has conspired to create a couple of heightened risks for working at the BFS this weekend, and, just to be safe, we’ve canceled the this Saturday’s volunteer workday. Here’s what’s going on:
- Heightened fire danger:
Beginning tonight and continuing into next week, our area is expecting unusually high temperatures, extremely low humidity, and high winds, and the National Weather Service has issued Special Statement for elevated fire danger in our area, which says in part:
The combination of rising temperatures…low humidity and offshore winds in combination with critically dry vegetation will bring elevated fire danger to much of southwest California late Wednesday through this weekend…and possibly into early next week. The highest fire danger is expected to be across the Los Angeles and Ventura County mountains and valleys where the strongest northeast winds are likely to occur.
- Heightened risk of West Nile virus infection:
West Nile virus is on the rise in California. The California Department of Public Health reports that the proportion of mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus is at the highest level ever detected in California, and increasing numbers human cases of human cases are being reported. Los Angeles County has one of the highest rates of increased West Nile activity – in the last week 18 new human cases were reported in LA County, and 14 new sentinel chickens (including 2 at the BFS) tested positive for West Nile.
Although 80% of West Nile infections are asymptomatic, rare cases result in encephalitis or meningitis, so it’s important to protect yourself against mosquito bites by using insect repellant and avoiding working at dawn and dusk, which is when mosquitoes are most active. For more West Nile information, see:
We hope both the fire danger and the West Nile activity abate soon, so volunteer workdays can be resumed.