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Record-breaking Heat, Wildfires Mark First Day of Summer


Today may be the first official day of summer, but heat records are already broken in the Southwest, with days of triple-digit temperatures.

The heatwave has turned deadly for some and raging western wildfires are only adding to the misery.

People across the Southwest are enduring a miserable Monday after Sunday temperatures broke records and soared above 115 degrees. Forecasts for southeast California and portions of Arizona aren't easing up.

The unbearable heat has many turning to social media, posting photos of boiling temperature readings on their car thermometers and cell phones.

"We don't have earthquakes, tornadoes or hurricanes, but the heat is our disaster," Maj. John Brackenbury, a program coordinator with the Salvation Army, said.

In Phoenix, 25-year-old Anthony Quatela died Saturday while hiking with a friend in the extreme heat. They ran out of water.

Then, early Sunday morning, a 28-year-old woman became unresponsive while mountain biking with friends. Firefighters managed to rescue her, but she died at the hospital.

The weather's deadly reality even has children paying attention to the warning signs.

"When you're dehydrated, your head starts hurting, then you can't do anything. When you drink water, that prevents you from getting a headache so you can play more," one youngster said.

Meanwhile, triple-digit heat in Phoenix forced some airlines to delay incoming flights Sunday because at 120 degrees the air is so thin it creates lift problems for planes.

A heat wave stretching from Southern California to Missouri is bearing down on more than 50 million Americans.

"We are still looking at above-normal temperatures right till the end of the month," one resident said.

On top of that, there are raging wildfires. More than a dozen large infernos are now burning across six states, including a fire in New Mexico that burned up at least two dozen homes.

Flames have scorched nearly 2 million acres already this year, compared to only half a million at this time last year.

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