Scorching temperatures and increased forest fire risk expected across the West


LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — The official start of summer is one week away and already the heat is blazing in the West.

Forecasters say record heat will bake some states shattering decades-old records.

According to the National Weather Service, Las Vegas could pass its all-time high of 117 degrees, Nevada’s record of 124 degrees and Arizona’s brutal 128-degree mark. Those were all set back in 1994.

Salt Lake City could hit 105 Tuesday, tying a record for June.

Much of Montana and northern Wyoming are forecasting Monday and Tuesday for temperatures as high as 109.

Excessive heat warnings were also issued for Utah, Colorado and California.

California already is in a serious drought.

“What that means is vegetation is extraordinarily vulnerable to any sort of spark or flame,” said a California firefighter.

Red flag warnings for fire danger were set to be in effect Monday evening through Wednesday morning along the south Santa Barbara County coast due to gusty winds. Southern California Edison was considering shutting off power to nearly 5,200 customers in the county to prevent fires.

The fire danger has jumped dramatically with the heat gripping the West making it even more difficult to battle wildfires in progress. Officials are sounding the alarm over the potential for new fires.

About 30 wildfires are burning in Western states, amid a record year of severe and extreme drought. Water levels are way down in lakes snd reservoiers.

The heat is expected to evaporate whatever’s left.

“Have an extinguishing agent with you. have an extinguisher or bucket of water or a hose line or something. If something gets out of control, you can control it, right?” said LA County Fire Department member Mark Torres.

In Utah, crews are struggling to control the pack Creek Fire which grew from an abandoned campfire to nearly 9.000 acres.

“I cannot stress enough how dry fuels are right now and how easily it is for a tiny spark you can barely see to start a fire and quickly get up and move,” said Kait Webb of the Utah Division of Forestry.

Just in time for the summerlike blast of heat, many Los Angeles city pools reopened Monday, but smog and outdoor activities were a concern for air quality regulators who said an ozone advisory would be in effect through Saturday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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