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Fox News Weather Center

Triple-Digit Heat, Lightning to Ramp Up Wildfire Risk in West This Weekend

Soon after temperatures surge to record high levels in the Northwest this weekend, a disturbance will roll in from the Pacific Ocean with spotty storms and dry lightning.

Record high temperatures will be challenged from Seattle to Salt Lake City this weekend.

High temperatures will reach 100 F from the deserts to the upper part of the Great Basin, the Snake River Basin and part of the Northwest during one or both days of the weekend.

According to AccuWeather Chief Long Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok, "Much of the West, especially the Northwest will remain hot into early July."

The only cool spots will be right along the California coast, due to a sea breeze.

Be sure to avoid strenuous activity this weekend into next week. If you will be outside for lengthy periods, be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid direct sunlight and where light-colored and light-weight clothing.

The combination of ongoing heat, dry landscape, low humidity and lack of rain will continue the wildfire threat over much of the West.

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According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, who is also a volunteer firefighter, the extreme conditions in the West will test the physical limits of firefighters.

"At the same time, high heat will allow fuel temperatures to rise, increasing the risk of ignition and increasing the chances for extreme fire behavior," Duffey said.

Even though temperatures will throttle back a little early next week, the risk of wildfires will continue and may increase substantially as a moisture-starved system moves in from the Pacific Ocean.

This disturbance will produce spotty thunderstorms, but not the type that bring drenching rainfall in most cases. Many of the storms that occur will bring dry lightning strikes, or simply lightning without rainfall.

The system will track from the Northwest coast Sunday night into Monday, to the interior Northwest and northern Rockies Monday night into Tuesday.

Meanwhile, over parts of New Mexico, Arizona and interior Southern California, enough moisture may pulse northward from Mexico to produce storms with little rainfall and dry lightning as well, during this weekend into early next week.

"Prior to the middle of July, a series of storms from the Pacific will attempt to chop down the heat in the Northwest," Pastelok said. "The pattern shift could cause extreme heat in the Southwest, prior to another surge of moisture and a ramp up of the monsoon in the region."

How much drenching rain versus dry thunderstorms that occur in the Northwest and the Southwest during the pattern adjustment is uncertain this far out.