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Southwestern U.S. records four deaths as heatwave becomes lethal

By Karen Graham     Jun 20, 2016 in Environment
Summer's advent was a scorcher today for over 30 million people living in the southwestern part of the U.S. and the National Weather Service is forecasting more life-threatening extreme heat to continue for several more days.
Summer came roaring in like a run-away freight train today, leaving behind four deaths over the weekend and heralding in a new wildfire in the Angeles forest that quickly grew to over 500 acres.
Sundays high of 118 degrees Fahrenheit in Phoenix broke a previous 115-degree record that had been on the books for 50 years. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports four people, two hikers on trails near Tucson, and two on trails near Phoenix died from the extreme heat over the weekend. On Sunday, it was 115 degrees in Tucson.
Social Media was especially busy, with residents posting pictures and videos of boiling temperature readings on cars and cell phones. There were more people staying indoors in the air-conditioning than usual, which was the safest place to be. Kim Leeds, 28, took her dog Bo outside in the early afternoon for a bathroom break. The Australian shepherd wore special booties with rubber bottoms.
The heat affected air travelers too. On Sunday, United Flight 6186 from Houston's George Bush Intercontinental Airport was supposed to go to Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, but heat problems caused the flight to be diverted back to Houston, reports CBS News.
New fire in California
CNN is reporting a new fire dubbed the "reservoir fire" quickly grew to over 500 acres in the Angeles Forest outside of Los Angeles. The wildfire has been sending huge plumes of smoke into the sky as firefighters from the county and U.S. Forest Service battle the blaze. This latest fire brings to 10 the number of wildfires blazing in the state as of today.
In San Diego County, near the border with Mexico, evacuations were ordered as the wildfire on the border continues to rage through the dry underbrush unabated in the extreme heat. Captain Isaac Sanchez of Cal Fire called it a "grueling fight" due to the intense heat and rocky conditions. "They're doing their best right now."
The fire outside Santa Barbara called the Sherpa fire continues to blaze, with firefighters hampered by the heat and gusting winds that prompted "Red Flag" warnings. "If we had a week without wind, we'd be great," said Capt. Dave Zaniboni of the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. He added, "Unfortunately, that's not predicted. We have to get through these next couple days with red flag warnings."
More about extreme heat, four deaths, new wildfire in Calif, Social media, Water