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Wildfires Ignite Out West as Temperatures Soar to Record Levels

2 weeks ago
A water-dropping helicopter drops on flames from the advancing Lake Fire in Los Olivos, Calif., Saturday, July 6, 2024. | (AP Photo/Eric Thayer)

A heat wave with serious staying power is gripping the western U.S., raising the risk of wildfires across the region throughout the holiday weekend. Here is the latest on this developing situation.

Extreme Heat Takes Over Much of the Western U.S.

Relief from the extreme heat is still days away for the West Coast. As the mercury continues to soar, a large portion of California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and Washington is dealing with rapidly spreading wildfires. Temperatures are eclipsing the 120-degree mark in the hardest hit areas with widespread readings above the century mark across the region.

How hot has it been? Death Valley, California is expected to inch up to 125 degrees on Sunday and Monday. Should this forecast come to fruition, it would set a new daily record for both dates. Across the desert in Las Vegas, the city may also break an all-time record on Sunday or Monday. Sin City will need to hit 117 degrees to achieve the new record.

Several high-temperature records were broken or tied on the Fourth of July across California. Palmdale saw the temperatures hit 110 degrees while Madera notched a high of 109 degrees for the holiday.

What is most dangerous about this current heat wave is its longevity. Saturday is forecast to be the peak of the heat for many areas with readings reaching 110 degrees and higher across the bulk of the Central Valley and California and into the Desert Southwest. The epicenter of the heat wave will be centered across the Sacramento and San Joaquin valleys in California and into the Mojave Desert.

Almost 140 million Americans are under heat alerts with the majority of these people living in the western U.S. While the temperatures will ease slightly heading into the new week, the heat wave is predicted to stick around through at least Wednesday.

Credit: Adobe Stock

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