A record-breaking heatwave in the western part of the United States has caused fires in Montana, Arizona and California.
Why it matters: The West is already experiencing an intense drought, which studies show is being exacerbated by climate change. In the coming days, more than 40 million people in the West and Southwest could see temperatures exceed 100°F.
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Phoenix set a new temperature record Thursday, reaching 115°F.
A firefighter responds to a brush fire in Los Angeles on June 16. Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Dry cracked earth is visible at Nicasio Reservoir on June 16 in Marin County, Calif., which is under mandatory water-use restrictions. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Cattle graze on June 14 near Lake Isabella, Calif., which will receive only a quarter of its average annual Sierra snowmelt.
Water intake towers at Lake Mead, Ariz., North America's largest artificial reservoir. Water levels have dropped to their lowest since being filled in 1937. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Children cool off in water sprinklers at a park in Las Vegas on June 16. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A thermometer sign displays a temperature of 117 degrees Fahrenheit on June 15 in Phoenix, Ariz. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Getty Images
A person drinks cold water at a homeless resource center, in Las Vegas on June 16. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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