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Fox News Weather Center

Heat Wave, Wildfire Threat to Last Into July for Western US

Temperatures will continue to run well above normal across the western United States this week with this pattern lasting through the opening days of July.

The weather pattern responsible for this heat wave setup over the West this past weekend, and according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Michael Doll, will persist through at least the Forth of July weekend.

While this week is not expected to be quite as hot as it was over the weekend, temperatures will still reach the lower 90s to lower 100s on a daily basis.

AccuWeather.com RealFeel® Temperatures may be even higher due to the strong rays from the afternoon sun.

To help put this into perspective, the normal high in Spokane, Washington, on July 1 is 79 F. However, the city could hit 100 F one or more times this week.

Temperatures of this magnitude can make it dangerous for strenuous outdoor activities during the afternoon and evening when temperatures are at their highest levels.

"If you will be outside for lengthy periods, be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid direct sunlight and wear light-colored and light-weight clothing," said AccuWeather.com Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

Cities near the coast, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, or San Diego, will escape the intense heat, but will still experience temperatures 5 to 10 degrees above normal.

The higher elevations of the Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and Rocky Mountains will also be spared of the triple-digit heat. However, these areas will face another danger.

Thunderstorms are forecast to develop over the higher terrain each afternoon, typical to this time of year.

While these storms are not expected to turn severe, they will still bring frequent lightning which could spark wildfires across the region.

Lightning strikes from similar storms have already caused numbers of wildfires across the West over the past few weeks.

Currently, there are wildfires burning in California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon and Washington that have all been a direct result from a lightning strike, according to the Incident Information System.

These storms can be difficult to get under control by firefighters, not only because of the challenging mountainous terrain, but also because of the heat.

Above-normal temperatures will continue to dominate the West through the holiday weekend, and possibly beyond.

Those with outdoor plans this Fourth of July should plan accordingly and prepare to deal with the intense summer heat.