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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A long-lasting heat wave that has already broken all previous records in the U.S. continued Sunday, parching parts of the West in dangerous temperatures that led to the death of a motorcyclist in Death Valley and keeping the East in its sweltering grip.

An extreme heat warning – the National Weather Service’s highest warning level – was in effect Sunday for about 36 million people, or about 10% of the population, NWS meteorologist Bryan Jackson said. Dozens of locations across the West and Pacific Northwest met or exceeded previous heat records.

That was definitely the case over the weekend: Many areas in Northern California saw temperatures exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit, with the city of Redding reaching 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix set a new daily record for the warmest minimum temperature on Sunday: the temperature never dropped below 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

On Saturday and Sunday, a maximum temperature of 53.3 degrees Celsius was measured in Death Valley National Park in eastern California. One visitor died there on Saturday as a result of excessive heat, and another person was hospitalized, authorities said.

The two visitors were part of a group of six motorcyclists who were riding through the Badwater Basin area in scorching hot weather, the park said in a statement.

The identity of the deceased person has not been determined. The other motorcyclist was taken to a Las Vegas hospital for “severe heat illness,” the statement said.

The other four members of the group were treated on site.

Park officials warned that heat illness and injuries are cumulative and can build up over the course of one or more days.

“This kind of heat can pose a real health hazard,” said park ranger Mike Reynolds.

“In addition to not being able to cool down while riding due to the high ambient temperatures, experiencing Death Valley by motorcycle in this heat is another challenge as heavy protective gear must be worn to reduce injuries in the event of an accident,” the statement said.

The high temperatures didn’t faze Chris Kinsel, a visitor to Death Valley. He said it was “like Christmas for me” to be there on a record-breaking day. Kinsel said he and his wife usually come to the park in the winter when it’s still warm enough – but that’s nothing compared to being in one of the hottest places on Earth in July.

“Death Valley in the summer has always been on my bucket list. I’ve always wanted to come here in the summer,” said Kinsel, who was visiting the Badwater Basin area of ​​Death Valley from Las Vegas.

Kinsel said he planned to go to the park’s visitor center to have his photo taken next to the digital display of the current temperature.

Across the Nevada desert, Natasha Ivory took four of her eight children to a water park in Mount Charleston outside Las Vegas, where a record high of 48.3 °C (119 °F) was reached on Sunday.

“They’re having a blast,” Ivory told Fox5 Vegas. “I’m getting wet, too. It’s too hot not to.”

Jill Workman Anderson was also at Mount Charleston, taking a short hike with her dog and enjoying the view.

“We can look out and see the desert,” she said. “It was also 30 degrees cooler than northwest Las Vegas, where we live.”

Triple-digit temperatures were common across Oregon, and several records were broken – including in Salem, where temperatures reached 103 degrees Fahrenheit on Sunday, surpassing the 100 degrees Fahrenheit mark set in 1960. On the wetter east coast, temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit were common, though there were no extreme heat warnings for Sunday.

“Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, avoid the sun and check on relatives and neighbors,” says a weather warning for the Baltimore area. “Small children and pets should never be left unattended in the car under any circumstances.”

Heat records broken throughout the Southwest

Isolated heat warnings were even extended to higher elevations, for example around Lake Tahoe on the border between California and Nevada. The weather service in Reno, Nevada, warned of “significant heat risks, even in the mountains.”

“What kind of heat are we talking about? Well, highs across (Western Nevada and Northeast California) won’t drop below 100 degrees (37.8 degrees) until next weekend,” the service posted online. “And unfortunately, there won’t be much relief overnight, either.”

Even more extreme highs are forecast in the near future, including possibly 130 °F (54.4 °C) around midweek in Furnace Creek, California, in Death Valley. The highest temperature ever officially recorded on Earth was 134 °F (56.67 °C) in July 1913 in Death Valley, although some experts dispute that measurement and say the true record is 130 °F (54.4 °C) recorded there in July 2021.

Tracy Housley, a native of Manchester, England, said she decided to drive to Death Valley from her Las Vegas hotel after hearing on the radio that temperatures could reach record highs.

“We just thought, let’s be there,” Housley said Sunday. “Let’s enjoy the experience.”

The number of deaths is increasing

In Maricopa County, Arizona, which includes Phoenix, there have been at least 13 confirmed heat-related deaths this year, and more than 160 other deaths suspected to be heat-related are still under investigation, according to a recent report.

That does not include the death of a 10-year-old boy last week in Phoenix who, according to police, suffered a “heat-related medical incident” while hiking with his family in South Mountain Park and Preserve.

High temperatures and low humidity fuel wildfires in California

In California, emergency crews battled a series of wildfires across the state in sweltering temperatures.

In Santa Barbara County, northwest of Los Angeles, the spreading Lake Fire had destroyed more than 66.5 square kilometers of dry grass, brush and forest after it broke out on Friday. It was not yet under control as of Sunday. The fire raged mostly in uninhabited wilderness area, but some rural homes had to be evacuated.

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This story has been edited to correct the spelling of “Redding, California” and to correct that the motorcyclist died on Saturday, not Sunday.

Beck reported from Omaha, Nebraska. Associated Press videographer Ty O’Neil in Death Valley National Park and writer Walter Berry in Phoenix contributed to this report.

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