Millions of people in the US and Europe are exposed to extreme heat when wildfires break out
Brutal and dangerous temperatures are being felt from California to Massachusetts, with more than 120 million Americans under excessive heat warnings or advisories. The National Weather Service said more than 60 new record highs will be set in 20 states by the end of the week.
As temperatures soared into the triple digits, the Hoover Dam experienced a major power outage when a transformer explosion billowed smoke. The dam supplies electricity to California, Nevada and Arizona.
West of Dallas, an intense, heat-driven wildfire burned down a number of homes as temperatures reached 111 degrees. The fire was about 10% contained as of Tuesday night, officials said, with 4,000 acres burned.
As of Tuesday, 85 major fires were burning across more than three million acres in 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Twenty-four days in the triple digits is also taking a toll on Texas infrastructure. Drought conditions cause the ground to shift and waterlines to break. Of the nearly 500 burglaries in Fort Worth this year, nearly 40% happened in the last month.
So far, the fragile Texas power grid is keeping pace with record demand as customers continue to be urged to conserve electricity.
Meteorologists say the weather pattern is deadlocked, driving warmer and drier conditions north and causing a drought resulting in higher temperatures, causing parts of California, Arizona and the Central Plains to suffocate under a heat dome.
“We’re certainly seeing more extreme weather due to climate change,” Sarah Barnes, meteorologist at the Fort Worth National Weather Service office, told CBS News. “This drought has caused us to go into summer much earlier than we normally see.”
Paramedics say you can be in trouble in minutes in this heat. Fourteen people were taken to the hospital in Fort Worth on Monday, one in critical condition. The biggest mistake people make in the heat is not drinking enough water.
The US isn’t the only place melting under a heat wave. Great Britainfor the highest temperature ever recorded with 34 locations across the country breaking previous highs.
Rare wildfires broke out in London as it burned on its hottest day on record. Across the country, tracks buckled in the heat and service was slowed or suspended.
Meanwhile, Spain battled at least 30 blazes. In France, firefighters struggled to contain a wildfire that burned down an area twice the size of Paris. Portugal has had more than 1,000 heat-related deaths.
Ramy Inocencio contributed coverage.