Millions in West still threatened by ‘dangerously’ hot temperatures

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — Some 32 million people are under heat alerts as the West experiences another record-breaking heat wave during elevated drought and fire conditions.

Heat alerts are in effect from California to Montana, with excessive heat warnings for cities including Las Vegas, Salt Lake City and Sacramento, California.

Temperatures could reach as high as 130 degrees in Death Valley, California, on Saturday and Sunday, after hitting a high of 130 degrees on Friday, based on preliminary data. If Death Valley officially reaches that temperature again on Saturday, that could tie its record for most consecutive days at or above 130 degrees.

Las Vegas is forecast to be in the triple digits for the next three days, with a high of 117 degrees on Saturday. The National Weather Service office in Las Vegas predicted that some areas “may see all-time record highs challenged or exceeded” this weekend.

Salt Lake City could see triple-digit temperatures Sunday and Monday, after a forecasted high of 99 degrees on Saturday.

Sacramento is expected to reach 111 degrees Saturday, after hitting a daily high-temperature record of 109 on Friday. The National Weather Service office in Sacramento warned that the “dangerously hot temperatures” will “increase the threat for heat-related illnesses,” and advised that people stay hydrated and limit outdoor activities.

The scorching temperatures come after millions in the West endured extreme heat during a deadly heat wave late last month, and as much of the West also is battling a severe drought and elevated wildfire risk.

In California, nearly 95% of the state is in severe drought, according to the latest update from the U.S. Drought Monitor. This week, Gov. Gavin Newsom expanded the state’s drought emergency, which now includes 50 out of 58 counties. The governor also asked everyone in the state to voluntarily reduce water usage by 15%.

Several states currently are under fire danger, with red flag warnings in effect for parts of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Colorado and Utah due to the combination of low humidities, warm temperatures and strong winds.

Dozens of large wildfires continue to burn in the West, including the Beckwourth Complex near the California-Nevada border. The fire grew explosively Friday, prompting evacuations. By Saturday afternoon, it had burned 55,091 acres and was only 9% contained.

ABC News’ Dan Peck contributed to this report.

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