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Los Angeles Fire Department mops up a brush fire in Elysian Park on Wednesday, June 16, 2021. Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A record-breaking heatwave in the western part of the United States has caused fires in Montana, Arizona and California.

Why it matters: The West is already experiencing an intense drought, which studies show is being exacerbated by climate change. In the coming days, more than 40 million people in the West and Southwest could see temperatures exceed 100°F.

In photos
A firefighter responds to a brush fire in Los Angeles on June 16. Photo: Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Dry cracked earth is visible at Nicasio Reservoir on June 16 in Marin County, Calif., which is under mandatory water-use restrictions. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Cattle graze on June 14 near Lake Isabella, Calif., which will receive only a quarter of its average annual Sierra snowmelt.
Water intake towers at Lake Mead, Ariz., North America's largest artificial reservoir. Water levels have dropped to their lowest since being filled in 1937. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
Children cool off in water sprinklers at a park in Las Vegas on June 16. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A thermometer sign displays a temperature of 117 degrees Fahrenheit on June 15 in Phoenix, Ariz. Photo: Caitlin O'Hara/Getty Images
A person drinks cold water at a homeless resource center, in Las Vegas on June 16. Photo: Bridget Bennett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Go deeper

In photos: Greenland's extreme melt season punctuated by early fall snow

Boats among melting ice caps in Greenland. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Greenland was hit by a wave of snowfall earlier this week, bringing a mild dose of relief to the country's rapidly melting ice sheet, NASA announced.

Why it matters: The accelerating rate of climate change hastens the extent of the ice melt in Greenland, which is the largest contributor to global sea levels rising.

42 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 48 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.