(CBS/AP) A heat wave sizzling across the West showed little sign of letting up Thursday, with Las Vegas forecast to tie a record high and even northern Idaho expected to top 100 degrees.
"You can become dehydrated really quick before you know it. You step outside and, 'wow,'" said Charlie Schlott, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas was expected to hit 116, which would tie a record for the date set in 1985. Near-record highs were also forecast for Southern California, where the mercury was expected to top 115 in desert.
Los Angeles is on track to record the driest 12 months since records began back in 1877.
A high of 101 was forecast Thursday in Spokane, Wash., and nearby Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which would exceed the record of 100 set in 1975. Friday's forecast didn't hold much relief from the nearly weeklong heat wave, either.
In California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger ordered the opening of state cooling centers in 13 counties, and the operator of the statewide power grid ask Californians to try to conserve energy to avoid brownouts.
Across the Southwest and Southeast, extreme drought conditions have fed fires like the Neola blaze, already burning 62 square miles near Salt Lake City and killing three people, reports Hughes. Officials now say it may burn all summer.
Moisture levels in some of the largest logs east of the Cascade Range have dropped to what typically is seen in the hottest days of August, U.S. Forest Service officials said.
Across the country, officials just this week declared the entire state of Alabama a drought disaster area.