LAS VEGAS - A heat wave smothering the West is rewriting the record books, likely tying a more than century-old record for the U.S. while putting Las Vegas through its hottest June ever.
The National Weather Service says California's Death Valley National Park tentatively recorded a high temperature of 129 degrees on Sunday, which would tie the all-time June record high for the United States. It could take months to verify whether the record set in 1902 at Volcano, a former town near the Salton Sea in southeastern California, was matched.
The reading, however, is short of the all-time, world record 134 degrees set in Death Valley on July 10, 1913.
Triple-digit heat struck again elsewhere in Southern California, while metropolitan Phoenix saw just a slight drop in temperatures after experiencing record-breaking heat Saturday. The 119-degree high in Phoenix on Saturday marked the fourth-hottest day in metro Phoenix since authorities started keeping temperature records more than 110 years ago. The high temperature for the metro area hit 115 on Sunday.
Las Vegas temperatures have been at 115 and above in recent days -- including a record-tying 117 on Sunday -- helping make June the hottest ever in Sin City.
National Weather Service meteorologist Chris Stachelski (stah-HEL'-skee) says Las Vegas will continue to bake in near-record temperatures at least through Thursday.
June was the third-hottest in Salt Lake City history, highlighted by the record high for the month of 105, set on Friday and Saturday.
The forecast for the first week of July calls for temperatures of 100 degrees or higher Tuesday through Thursday.
That would mark a streak of eight straight days of triple-digit heat, said National Weather Service meteorologist Nanette Hosenfeld. The record is 10 consecutive days, set in 2003.
Tragedy struck north of Phoenix as hot gusty winds fueled an out of control wildfire that overtook and killed 19 firefighters near the town of Yarnell.
Forestry spokesman Art Morrison said the firefighters were forced to deploy their fire shelters, tent-like structures meant to shield firefighters from flames and heat.
Six half-marathon runners in Southern California were hospitalized Sunday for heat-related illnesses. A day earlier, paramedics responding to a Nevada home without air conditioning found an elderly man dead.
Southern California will continue to broil under a massive heat wave, though forecasters say more record-setting temperatures are unlikely.
High-temperature records were shattered across the region over the weekend. The high of 115 at Lancaster's Fox Field on Sunday represented not just a record for a June 30 but an all-time high -- surpassing the 114 degrees recorded 53 years ago.
In San Diego County, Campo set a record with a 107-degree mark.
In Oregon, circling buzzards led neighbors to discover sheep with full-grown wool that had dropped dead of the heat in a field in rural Marion County near Turner.
The sheriff's office said Monday that 30 to 40 had died in the 80-acre field covered with green standing grass
Sheriff's spokesman Don Thomson told Statesman Journal deputies responded Sunday and gave remaining sheep water and food. More than 200 survived.