On the West Coast, the COVID threat joins forces with deadly heat and an increase in wildfire danger. Between California, Nevada, Arizona and Colorado, at least 43 million Americans are baking under record temperatures. California is experiencing record shattering heat that is so oppressive, officials warn it could be deadly. Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency. A heightened demand for electricity could put a strain on the power grid and blackouts across the state are possible.
People gather on the beach at the Pacific Ocean on the first day of the Labor Day weekend amid a heatwave on September 5, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Temperatures are soaring across California sparking concerns that crowded beaches could allow for wider spread of the coronavirus amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The heat also brings an increased fire threat, as crews continue to battle some of the largest wildfires in the state’s history. In Arizona, temperatures have topped 110 degrees. Firefighters rescued a hiker off a popular mountain in Phoenix.”It’s gonna be a hot weekend. a hot holiday weekend,” said Phoenix police captain Todd Keller. “It’s really important to choose the right times to go hike.”Scorching temperatures are coinciding with Labor Day plans and coronavirus restrictions leave many with limited options to escape the heat. Officials expect parks and beaches to be crowded “It’s gonna be tough,” said one lifeguard. “We really want you to maintain 6 feet of distance and social distance, wear your mask when you’re on the beach and use good judgement.”
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