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An Arizona Fire Department Wants People to Stop Hiking

The Phoenix Fire Department’s latest message to local hikers has gone viral. The message is “stop hiking in the heat.”

“With temperatures hitting near 110 degrees, it’s not the day for hiking,” the Phoenix Fire Department wrote in a social media post. “A friendly reminder: no hikes at Camelback Mountain or Piestewa Peak during Excessive Heat Warnings and it’s best to avoid all trails between 9 AM – 5 PM.”

Hiking in the desert requires special precautions, and, unfortunately, many people overestimate their bodies’ ability to handle the heat. Dehydration and heat-related illnesses can be serious, and it’s hard to avoid when the temperatures exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

To keep hikers safe, the Phoenix Fire Department urges people not to hit the trails at all. If they really must hike, the department encourages hikers to go before 9 AM or after 5 PM to avoid the hottest part of the day.

While the temperatures do dip after the sun goes down, it’s still quite warm. In fact, if you can’t imagine walking outside at midnight and the temperature being 85°F, you’ve not visited Arizona in the summer. (I grew up there.)

The Phoenix Fire Department’s post included this photo of a fireman protesting hiking during Excessive Heat Warnings. He appears to be standing at a trailhead, holding a “stop hiking in the heat” sign:

The department urges hikers to follow safe hiking practices, which it promotes through its “Take a Hike. Do it Right.” campaign.

Tips from the campaign include:

  • Hike early before it heats up
  • Bring plenty of water
  • Bring a cell phone
  • Stay on designated trails
  • Dress appropriately
  • Watch the weather
  • Leave pets at home
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