Story at a glance

  • The Southwestern United States is facing extremely hot temperatures across Utah, California, Nevada and Arizona.
  • Some areas are expected to reach dangerous highs of 120 degrees.
  • More than 48 million people throughout the Southwest are under heat advisory warnings from the National Weather Service, and some areas are also under critical fire risk designations.

The Southwestern United States is facing extremely hot temperatures — across Utah, California, Nevada and Arizona — and some areas are expected to reach dangerous highs of 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

More than 48 million people throughout the Southwest are under heat advisory warnings from the National Weather Service. The area’s already-dangerous drought conditions are only exacerbating the problem, leading to critical fire risk designations in parts of Nevada and Utah.

Already in Arizona, the Telegraph fire, which began on June 4, has burned 104,755 acres as of June 14. 

“We have extreme fire behavior that we normally don’t see,” fire information spokesperson Larry Bickel told AZCentral. 


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Some scientists believe the Western United States is on the verge of a permanent drought. A permanent drought is characterized by an unchanging dry climate, sparse vegetation and increased risk of wildfires.

Recent years have seen expansive droughts and longer fire seasons. 

The 2020 fire season was the West’s worst in recent history. Both California and Colorado experienced their largest fires ever reported, and fire season itself is two to three months longer now than it was a few decades ago. 


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Published on Jun 15, 2021