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Fox News Weather Center

Southwestern US wildfire threat to persist into next week as more heat looms

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The wildfire threat will remain elevated across the southwestern United States into next week as another round of extreme heat looms.

Triple-digit heat will continue to hold a firm grip on the deserts of the Southwest the rest of this week but not to the extreme levels from earlier this week.

After flirting with the 120-degree mark, temperatures in Phoenix will hold closer to 110 degrees Fahrenheit daily into Saturday. A high of 105 F is more common in late June.

Residents of the Southwest will also have to remain vigilant of a continued elevated wildfire danger despite the extreme temperatures from earlier this week not being repeated.

The sizzling temperatures and low humidity will further dry out vegetation across the region this week, providing sufficient fuel for any blazes that ignite.

Localized gusty winds will kick up each of the next several afternoons and evenings, threatening to spread any sparks or existing fires.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Evan Duffey, who is also a volunteer firefighter, is concerned that dry thunderstorms may spark fires in the Four Corners region.

"There were not many thunderstorms during the recent heat wave, but as the heat wanes and an upper-air disturbance moves into the Northwest, the threat of isolated dry thunderstorms will become the main concern for the Four Corners the rest of this week," he said.

"Due to lack of moisture in the vegetation, about one in every five lightning strikes is expected to produce at least a small fire."

Duffey is especially concerned that the fire danger may spike briefly in Colorado and Wyoming on Friday due to more dry thunderstorms and gusty winds.

Beyond this threat, attention will then turn toward the next surge of heat across the Southwest this weekend into early next week as another ridge of high pressure builds overhead.

"After a nice cooldown the last couple of days in Southern California, the heat will come right back by the latter half of the weekend and early next week," AccuWeather Western Weather Expert Ken Clark said.

"Triple-digit heat will return to parts of the Los Angeles and San Diego areas by Sunday and Monday, and excessive heat will become likely in the Central Valley of California with some areas getting to, or just past 110 F," he said.

In parts of the lower Colorado River Basin, including Needles, California, temperatures may approach 120 F. While not quite as extreme as what was recorded earlier this week, temperatures will flirt with 115 F in Phoenix, Arizona.

There will be a gradual increase in moisture around the high next week, which could work to spark some thunderstorms in Arizona and the mountains and deserts of Southern California and eventually up into the Great Basin.

While providing brief cooling and residual clouds that will work to temper the heat across the Southwest, thunderstorms could also produce gusty winds and lightning-sparked fires well away from where it is raining.

The increase in humidity in southern California and the deserts of Arizona will cause AccuWeather RealFeel® Temperatures to increase more above actual temperatures than during the recent heat wave.