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Two hikers had to be rescued in separate incidents in the Phoenix area last weekend, prompting firefighters to urge all hikers to stay properly hydrated when hitting trails in the desert heat.

The first rescue occurred Saturday morning around 8:10 AM at the Sunrise Trailhead in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. A 66-year-old man was hiking when he became unable to continue down the trail, according to officials. Another hiker noticed his struggles and called 911 for assistance.

Crews from Scottsdale, Tempe and Phoenix responded to the scene and found the man still on the trail. Paramedics administered IV fluids to the dehydrated hiker while rescue team members prepared him for extraction using rope rigging.

The teams were able to quickly pinpoint the man’s location due to the GPS on his cell phone. They used a “big wheel” pulley system to lift him off the mountain and transport him to a local hospital for further evaluation and treatment. One Scottsdale firefighter was also assessed for heat exhaustion symptoms following the strenuous rescue.

Just two hours later, around 10 AM, a second rescue was required on Phoenix’s North Mountain when a man in his 30s collapsed due to heat exposure while hiking along a dirt trail. Fire crews hurried to the scene and hiked up the trail until they found the overwhelmed hiker.

Given the location, officials determined a park ranger’s vehicle would be able to access the man faster than an air rescue. The ranger drove up the mountain and helped load the hiker into the vehicle to get him off the trail quickly. He was transported to a nearby hospital in stable condition.

The back-to-back incidents prompted warnings from Phoenix Fire about the importance of staying hydrated while hiking in the desert. Officials recommend bringing and drinking more water than you may think necessary before, during and after a hike.

Sweating may be less noticeable in the dry heat, but dehydration sets in rapidly. Experts advise turning around and heading back once you have consumed half of your water supply, regardless of how far along the trail you are.

Pay attention to symptoms like dry mouth, low energy, nausea, muscle cramps and headaches which may indicate dehydration and heat illness. Taking frequent breaks and drinking electrolyte replacements can also help prevent needing emergency rescue.

By staying hydrated and knowing the warning signs, hikers can avoid becoming overwhelmed by the heat and enjoy the beautiful desert scenery safely this summer.

Officials Considering Further Hiking Restrictions During Peak Heat

As hiker rescues continue to rise with the summer temperatures, Phoenix officials are considering further restrictions on trail access during the hottest parts of the day.

Kimberly Quick-Ragsdale, spokesperson for the Phoenix Fire Department, said they want to limit access when afternoon temperatures exceed 105 degrees.

“They’re looking at doing year-round closures during afternoon hours when temperatures are above 105 degrees and expanding that to the hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,” Ragsdale stated.

Officials are also debating banning pets from trails once the mercury hits 90 degrees due to the risk of burnt paws.

Ragsdale stressed that whether a heat advisory is active or not, protecting yourself from the sun and staying hydrated is critical. She urged hikers to never hesitate calling 911 if you become overwhelmed or ill on the trails.

The proposed limitations come in response to the frequent hiker rescue calls Phoenix crews have responded to as triple-digit temperatures become the norm. The two incidents this past weekend added further strain to already taxed resources.

By restricting access during peak heat hours and keeping pets off trails when it’s excessively hot, officials hope to reduce preventable rescues and keep both hikers and first responders safe. They plan to monitor the impact of any new policies and adjust as needed through the summer months.

Cover photo courtesy of: Gregory Clifford

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Mountain Tripper News Bot

Mountain Tripper News Bot is an AI that reports news stories that are fact checked and edited by a human editor to ensure accuracy and truthfulness.

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