Death Valley scorched by 130F in hottest day since 1913 as blistering temperatures hit West Coast fueling wildfires
TEMPERATURES in Death Valley hit 130F on Saturday as Americans across the West Coast were scorched by the blistering heat, triggering devastating wildfires.
The Californian desert region saw its hottest day since 1913 as the National Weather Service confirmed the reading.
On Sunday, a thermometer outside the Furnace Creek Visitors Center read 134F but this temperature was unconfirmed.
One ranger reportedly recorded a temperature of 178F on the sidewalk.
Richard Rader, from Scottsdale, Arizona said: “I just came up here to see how hot it gets.”
Tourists left their air-conditioned cars to take pictures with the famous thermometer that’s located outside the visitors center.
The searing heat comes as firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire that has hit North California.
Several homes and cars were destroyed in Doyle as the fire, which came out of the hills, was pushed by heavy winds.
And crews were scrambled across the West Coast as the Oregon Bootleg blaze covered at least 143,000 acres.
The ravaging flames have eaten up vast swathes of the Fremont-Winema National Forest.
Fire incident commander Al Lawson said: “The fire behavior we are seeing on the Bootleg Fire is among the most extreme you can find and firefighters are seeing conditions they have never seen before.
"We understand the frustration of the community as the fire continues to grow.
"We also need to ensure our firefighters are able to engage safely so that they can return home at the end of this assignment to their families."
The Klamath County Sheriff's Office said it would take the rare step of "citing or arresting" those who refused to evacuate.
The warning stated: “We advise that if you are in a Level 3 evacuation area PLEASE EVACUATE IMMEDIATELY. There is a VERY high probability that we may not be able to get to you with additional warnings.”
And, two firefighters in Arizona died when their plane crashed as they were monitoring the Cedar Basin fire from above.
The firefighters were acting as "eyes in the sky" for those on the ground battling the inferno, bureau spokesperson Dolores Garcia told AZ Central.
A statement said: "The accident occurred around noon today (July 10) and involved an air attack aircraft performing aerial reconnaissance and command and control over the fire."
There were no survivors on board.
The devastating wildfires come as the West Coast remains engulfed under an intense dome of high pressure.
Last month was the hottest June on record as eight states recorded new highs of well over 100F – shattering long-standing temperature records.
During the week of June 25, temperatures hit a sizzling 40 degrees above average, setting 175 record high numbers around the Northwest.
Nearly 95 percent of the West is facing drought – up from 40 percent at this time last year.
Heat warnings are in place for residents in California, Arizona, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho.
The Hanford California NWS announced: "Extreme heat will significantly increase the potential for heat-related illnesses.
"Confidence is very high for a dangerous heatwave to persist through Monday and maybe into Tuesday."
Electricity providers warned that the intense heat could cause blackouts.
The blistering wave of heat is due to a heat dome that has formed over California and Nevada.
As hot air expands upwards, it is pushed downwards by higher-than-normal pressure in the atmosphere.
The pressure compresses the heat as it nears the ground, creating a dangerous "dome" of hot air.
The phenomenon has been described as a "black swan" event that is also linked to climate change.
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