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Maricopa County confirms this summer broke another record for heat-related deaths

After the hottest summer in its history, Maricopa County has now confirmed this will be another record-breaking year for heat-related deaths.

Heat deaths have skyrocketed in Maricopa County, breaking records every year since 2016. Last year, the number of fatalities soared to 425 — a staggering 25% increase over the previous year.

But amid record temperatures this July and August, the Maricopa County Medical Examiner predicted this year would be even deadlier.

The latest data from the county bears that out. The official tally now sits at 425 — matching last year’s total. But nearly 200 possible heat deaths still remain under investigation, guaranteeing another record.

“Even with extreme heat like we saw this summer, these deaths are preventable,” Dr. Rebecca Sunenshine, Maricopa County Department of Public Health medical director, said in a press release. “This tragic record reminds us that as a community, we have more work to do to prevent these deaths.”

Katherine Davis-Young is a senior field correspondent reporting on a variety of issues, including public health and climate change.