Wildfire in Montana explodes to 21,000 acres as heat wave continues

·2 min read

The historic heat wave in the West is not relenting -- and the high temperatures may be contributing to a massive wildfire that's exploded in size.

Las Vegas hit 116 degrees on Wednesday, breaking a daily record, while Grand Junction, Colorado, reached 105 degrees, an all-time June record.

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On Thursday, the heat moves into Northern California and the Plains.

California residents have been asked to scale down their power usage to prevent a strain on the system, reported San Francisco ABC station KGO.

PHOTO: The thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center at Death Valley National Park shows temperatures reading 129 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, Calif., June 16, 2021. (Norma Galeana/Reuters)
PHOTO: The thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center at Death Valley National Park shows temperatures reading 129 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, Calif., June 16, 2021. (Norma Galeana/Reuters)

In Nebraska, the heat has already caused a road to buckle.

Palm Springs, California, reached 122 degrees on Thursday, while Sacramento climbed to 102 and Omaha, Nebraska, to 106.

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Record highs are possible in Des Moines and Kansas City.

Twelve states are on heat and fire alerts from California to Iowa; heat, gusty winds and dry conditions can help wildfires spread more easily.

In Montana, the Robertson Draw wildfire near the Wyoming border has exploded from 2,000 acres to 21,000 acres.

PHOTO: The Robertson Draw fire burns south of Red Lodge, Mont., June 15, 2021. The fire grew rapidly amid a heat wave and gusting winds. (Amy Hyfield/U.S. Forest Service via AP)
PHOTO: The Robertson Draw fire burns south of Red Lodge, Mont., June 15, 2021. The fire grew rapidly amid a heat wave and gusting winds. (Amy Hyfield/U.S. Forest Service via AP)

The heat will remain for most of the West into the weekend, with temperatures staying in the 120s in the Southern California deserts and Phoenix continuing its record streak of 115 degrees or more into the weekend.

MORE: At California's Folsom Lake, a stark image of state's drought disaster

California's scorching temperatures come amid a drought in the Golden State.

"It's a big concern because I'll have to buy extra hay this year. We didn't get as much rain and not much grass," cattle ranger Roger Tweedy told Fresno ABC station KFSN. "Farmers are not going to get any water to irrigate with -- that means they have to pump. That's expensive. That drives their costs way up, therefore they push that cost off onto us."

PHOTO: John Merizier stops along the Las Vegas Strip to stand in a water mister during an excessive heat warning, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty Images)
PHOTO: John Merizier stops along the Las Vegas Strip to stand in a water mister during an excessive heat warning, June 16, 2021, in Las Vegas. (Ronda Churchill/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, a tropical disturbance could become Tropical Storm Claudette on Friday. Tropical storm warnings were announced for the Louisiana coast on Thursday evening.

A state of emergency was declared Thursday by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in anticipation of the storm.

Heavy rain is expected along the Gulf Coast and much of the South.

PHOTO: A tropical storm warning in effect from Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border, including New Orleans. (ABC News)
PHOTO: A tropical storm warning in effect from Louisiana to the Alabama/Florida border, including New Orleans. (ABC News)

MORE: 'Megadrought' in West directly linked to climate change, experts say

By Friday afternoon and evening, some heavy rain will begin to impact the Louisiana and Mississippi coast, including New Orleans. The worst of the heavy rain in New Orleans will be from Friday night into Saturday afternoon.

More than 1 foot of rain is forecast for parts of Louisiana. Six to 12 inches of rain is expected in Louisiana, Mississippi and parts of Georgia and Alabama.

Wildfire in Montana explodes to 21,000 acres as heat wave continues originally appeared on abcnews.go.com

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