Around midday on Wednesday, as the heat index reached more than 102 degrees in Baton Rouge, La., Tremaine Devine was searing burgers on the grill inside his food truck when he began to turn pale and felt lightheaded and short of breath.
“I can’t do this, we have to stop,” Mr. Devine told his fiancée, Kristen Smith, as they were in the midst of serving dozens of people at a corporate event. Ms. Smith cried as customers called for an ambulance. And at the hospital, a doctor told him that he was dehydrated — even after drinking at least eight bottles of water — and had symptoms of heat exhaustion.
“I usually deal with the heat, but today was overwhelming,” he said.
It was the 10th straight day that the temperature had been above 97 degrees, and Louisiana was just one of many states enduring sometimes weeks in or near triple-digit heat.
The effects of climate change have become even more apparent this summer, with temperatures rising to the highest levels in recorded history. Restaurant kitchens, already a sweltering place to work as cooks crank out meals using ovens and stoves, are getting even hotter as temperatures outside climb.