Heatwaves that scorched the northwest this summer led to 600 excess deaths, according to data from The New York Times. Almost 3,000 people showed up at emergency rooms across the region between June 25 and June 30 for issues stemming from the heat, a massive increase, as the mercury hit 115 degrees in Portland. “Not everyone can stay at home all day in an air-conditioned space,” said Dr. Greg Wellenius of Boston University. “Not everyone can afford an air conditioner.”
Sizzling temperatures that hit the region in June damaged infrastructure by causing outages and highways to melt. The deaths from high temperatures are only part of the bigger picture as the west coast has dealt with a continued heat-related crisis. This month, California’s Dixie Fire has mushroomed into the second largest fire in state history.