LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The work week could start with record-setting temperatures today as a heat wave tightens its grip on the Los Angeles area, prompting a request to residents of the region watch their power usage to prevent excessive strain on the state’s power grid.

Today is expected to be the hottest day of the heat wave that began Saturday, with temperatures ranging between 100 and more than 120 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, which extended an excessive heat warning through 8 p.m.

Red flag warnings continue until 8 p.m. Tuesday in the San Gabriel Mountains and through 10 a.m. Tuesday for the Santa Barbara mountains and south coast, where the Sherpa Fire continued to burn.

The NWS warned that very high temperatures, humidity dipping into single digits at times and locally gusty winds will increase fire danger in the area through Tuesday.

A record-setting 109 degrees was reported at 2:36 p.m. Sunday at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, the NWS said. Palmdale and Lancaster topped out at 105 and 106 degrees respectively, the temperature at Long Beach Airport hit 100 degrees, downtown LA topped out at 96 degrees and LAX hit 85 degrees. It hit 107 degrees in Beverly Hills.

Many beaches were not much cooler: it was 94 at Seal Beach and 88 at Zuma Beach.

Gusty sundowner winds were expected to continue today which should continue to fuel the Sherpa fire now burning near Goleta in Santa Barbara County, the NWS reported.

This upcoming week’s “dangerously hot conditions” will result from “an extremely strong area of high pressure” over Arizona and New Mexico, the NWS said. Minor relief was expected in coastal and valley areas beginning Tuesday, but the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley were to remain dangerously hot.

The heat was blamed for at least some of the outages reported Sunday night by Southern California Edison. More than 4,400 customers were without power in Los Angeles County and nearly 5,000 in Orange County as of 3:30 a.m. today, with equipment failure the main cause. The LADWP also noted spot outages around its coverage area.

A Flex-Alert was called for 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO), the state agency that matches private and public electricity generating resources to the amount of demand.

A Flex-Alert is a request for customers to voluntarily conserve electricity, including turning off unneeded lighting, postponing the use of major appliances including washing machines and dryers, and setting air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.

The Los Angeles DWP urged residents to 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.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is possible, especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities, and people without access to air conditioning,” the NWS said.

Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director and State Public Health officer, underscored the seriousness of the hazards posed by high temperatures.

“Heat-related emergencies cause dozens of deaths in California each year and prompt thousands of people to seek treatment at local emergency rooms,” Smith said. “In 2006, nearly 200 people died in California from extreme heat. High temperatures need to be taken very seriously. People should protect themselves and watch out for others who might be vulnerable.”

The Department of Public Health recommends that Southern Californians stay safe during the heat wave by:

— keeping an eye on weather forecasts and alerts from local officials;

— learning to recognize heat-related illnesses;

— staying out of direct sunlight and staying hydrated;

— reducing physical activity;

— identifying a cool location — a mall, library, theater or designated cooling center; the Los Angeles Police Department recommends calling 311 within city limits and 211 within county limits to find the nearest cooling station;

— wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen;

— checking on pets, friends, family and neighbors who may be especially

sensitive to excessive heat.

Additionally, the NWS notes that anyone overcome by the high temperatures should call 911 because heat stroke is an emergency.

The county agency and NWS forecasters also reminded residents they should never leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes.

Animal services officials say pet owners must make sure their animals are kept cool during the heat wave. They should watch for signs of heat stroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.

If heat stroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal’s head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be checked.

Other tips include:

— making sure the pet has fresh drinking water served in a large container, instead of a shallow bowl, to allow the water to remain cold longer;

— giving your dog ice cubes to eat or adding them to the water bowl;

— avoid burning dogs’ paws by keeping them off hot pavement or concrete during walks, and if necessarily do the walks early or later in the day when it is cooler; and

— taking extra care to provide shade to pets with lighter coats because

they are more likely to be sunburned.

The NWS forecast sunny skies today and highs in L.A. County of 86 at LAX; 90 in Avalon; 100 in Long Beach and downtown L.A.; 106 in San Gabriel; 107 in Pasadena; 108 in Burbank and Saugus; and 110 in Woodland Hills, Palmdale and Lancaster.

Sunny skies were also forecast in Orange County, along with highs of 83 in Newport Beach; 85 in Laguna Beach and San Clemente; 103 in Irvine; 104 in Anaheim; 105 in Mission Viejo; 106 in Fullerton; and 107 in Yorba Linda.

Tuesday’s temperatures will remain high but climb down sharply – 20 degrees in some communities — except in the Antelope Valley, where highs will be only 2 or 3 degrees lower than today.

Downtown L.A. will go from 100 today to 86 Tuesday, Long Beach from 100 to 82, Woodland Hills from 110 to 99, Saugus from 108 to 104, Pasadena from 107 to 94 and Mission Viejo from 105 to 85.