Heat wave intensifies critical West Coast drought

Temperatures have spiked well into the triple digits in California.
3:57 | 07/10/21

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Transcript for Heat wave intensifies critical West Coast drought
We begin tonight with the oppressive heat wave in the west intensifying the already critical drought. Record breaking temperatures well into triple digits. This on the heels of deadly heat that killed 200 people in the pacific northwest in recent volunteers in Sacramento handing out water and food. The extreme heat fueling dozens of large fires as well. The Beckworth complex fire on the california-nevada border doubling in size in the last 24 hours. Reservoirs and Lakes at dangerously low levels. 9d 93% of the west experiencing conditions. The heat stretching from California to Montana. 32 million people now under heat temperatures peaking today and tomorrow. Residents in several states being asked to conserve power and water. Rob Marciano is standing by with the forecast, but first ABC's will Carr leads us off from palm desert, California. Reporter: Tonight, life-threatening triple-digit temperatures are gripping much of the west. 32 million residents from California to Montana under excessive heat alerts. Records shattering as the region faces its third wave of dangerous heat in just a matter of weeks. It's hot. It's like you're on fire. Reporter: Sacramento, hitting 111 degrees. Grand junction, Colorado, 107. Palm Springs, 118 degrees this weekend. Death valley reaching 130 degrees, just four degrees shy of the hottest temperatu ever reached in the world. Here in rancho mirage, this playground is empty and for good reason. Check how hot it is out here. 164 degrees. Hot enough to give a child third-degree burns. These record temperatures come on the heel of the deadly heat wave in the pacific that kills 200 people. With this heat comes a drought emergency. In California, the entire state is facing a drought. 85% is now in extreme drought. This time last year, the extreme drought was just 2%. In a dramatic call to action, the governor this week calling on residents and industries to voluntarily cut their water usage by 15%. On top of the heat, the west is now battling wildfire season. How dangerous are these They're dangerous. We're exposed to the heat often. These guys are working 24-hour, 36-hour shifts. Reporter: The bootleg fire threatening power lines used to import energy in California, which prompted officials to to issue a statewide alert asking all residents to -- stabilize the power grid. Nevada asking residents to conserve energy this weekend. Firefighters battling the massive Beckworth complex fire on the california-nevada border. That fire doubling in size in just the past 24 hours with more than 55,000 acres burned. Will Carr joins us now from palm desert, California. This is the third heat wave in a row gripping much of the west. How rare is it to see such high temperatures this early and this often in the season? Reporter: Whit, it is rare, and it is hot here. This is the third heat wave in a short amount of time. At this point last year, we only had one with temperatures that reached these levels. Firefighters tell me they're not worried about the temperatures this weekending but the impact on fire season moving forward because we have a long way to go. Those firefighters will have their hands full. Will Carr, thank you. Let's get right to ABC's senior meteorologist rob Marciano. Rob, this heat is truly historic. Reporter: It is. Each one of these heat waves has been threatening or breaking all-time record temperatures. Vegas could do just that. It's expansive, too. Across ten states we have heat alerts up. This heat wave is encompassing a lot of people. 113 tomorrow as far north as Redding, California. 103 in Salt Lake. 117 is the all-time record for Vegas. They'll threaten that again tomorrow, which should be the peak. Temperatures remain above 100 for cities into the workweek. Severe storms from Oklahoma to Kentucky. A quieter day tomorrow, but next few days will be rough in the midwest. Rob, thank you.

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