Phoenix area hiking trails could close due to Excessive Heat Warnings
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - The hottest temperatures of the year so far are right across the corner. As a result, the National Weather Service issued Excessive Heat Watches for nine Arizona counties Monday. Some Valley hiking trails will close if these watches upgrade to Excessive Heat Warnings.
“Not only are you putting yourself at danger, you are putting these firemen and women that go up these mountains to rescue you in danger,” Phoenix Fire Captain Todd Keller said.
Camelback Mountain’s Echo and Cholla Trails and all trails associated with Piestewa Peak Trailhead in the Phoenix Mountains Preserve will close from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on those warning days. Parking lot gates will be closed, and signs will be posted.
This comes after the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Department ran a two-and-a-half-month pilot program last summer, shutting down those trails. In October, the board decided to make that program permanent. “We did have positive results. We had a decline in mountain rescues,” Keller said.
Keller says some days, firefighters have to go up and down a mountain three or four times a day with more than 50 pounds of gear. So he says this program is crucial. “We like to layer our resources so we will call additional trucks so we can recycle those firemen and women out of that incident if it does get hot,” he said.
“It’s really important for people to pay attention to their own bodies,” general pediatrician Gary Kirkilas said. He says a hot week ahead means you need to pay attention to your body, and if you decide to hike, you need to get out early.
“Heat exhaustion typically patients will feel some dizziness and notice they are sweating quite profusely, and you also get a fair amount of nausea and vomiting at this stage as well,” Kirkilas said. “But if you’re in the heat stroke side where you or a family member notice you’re becoming very confused, you’re not sweating, the skin is red and hot, that’s the emergency room for sure.”
And if you have pets, the city says you are not allowed to bring them on any City of Phoenix trail when the temperature is 100 degrees or warmer.
Copyright 2022 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.