US summer heat wave: Doctors warn of burn injuries as record temperatures continue to scorch West

Heat warnings have extended through Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and Pacific Northwest

As the western U.S. continues to bake under excessive heat, doctors are warning residents to be wary of burn injuries from hot surfaces like roadways and sidewalks. 

Triple-digit temperatures have threatened communities, increasing wildfire danger and the severity of the effects of an already historic drought.


As Arizona's Telegraph Fire continues to burn more than 104,700 acres, Cal Fire has fought smaller scale blazes up and down the Golden State.

The fire department has warned that the state has continued to "experience an increase in wildfires and acres burned" in 2021 "compared to last year."

People cool off in the water at the confluence of the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in Denver, Colorado on June 14, 2021. By mid-afternoon, the temperature hit 96 degrees as part of the heat wave sweeping across the western U.S. (AP Photo/Brittany Peterson)

Additionally, Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a drought emergency in April and mandatory water restrictions have been set for counties across the state.

However, heat warnings have extended through Nevada, Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho and the Pacific Northwest

Although the Northwest is forecast to see some relief, the National Weather Service said Tuesday that a strong upper-level ridge would help sustain a heat wave over the next several days

Record-breaking maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to be set in California, the Intermountain West, Desert Southwest, Rockies and High Plains. 

The agency said that Nevada's Death Valley would see temperatures likely topping 120 degrees Fahrenheit by mid-week and critical risks of fire weather were of concern in Nevada, Utah and Montana on Tuesday.

Concerned about public safety, health officials have advised people to be mindful of potentially scalding surfaces which can lead to severe burns and even a trip to the hospital.

The elderly, children. dehydrated, intoxicated or people with a medical condition are especially at risk of collapsing or falling onto superheated pavement due to excessive heat.


Severe burn cases at Arizona's Valleywise Health public hospital system reportedly rose 49% from 2019 to 2020 – the highest number since the facility's burn center began tracking cases 21 years ago.

Seven people died from severe burns in the summer of 2020 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says more than 600 people in the U.S. die from extreme heat every year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.