PHOENIX – Several hiking trails in Phoenix will remain closed all weekend from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. due to excessive heat, and while closures are in place, Phoenix fire crews conducted a few mountain rescues in because of the heat.
“The whole purpose of program is to protect our first responders from the heat who themselves are sensitive, even though they are well trained, and to protect hikers from the hottest part of the day,” says Adam Waltz of the Parks and Recreation Department. of the city of Phoenix.
In 2021, the city of Phoenix adopted a pilot program, which is now permanent, to close hiking trails on very hot days. The rule applies to Camelback Mountain, Echo Canyon, Cholla Trail and other trails in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve.
Although shutdowns take effect at 11 a.m. on dangerously hot days, just a day ago Phoenix Fire crews rescued three people from Camelback Mountain due to the heat.
“If a resident or hiker is on probation before the 11 a.m. shutdown begins, technically they can stay on the trail and continue to hike up the mountain,” says Waltz.
If you’re hitting the trails early in the morning or at night, he says, be responsible.
“Make sure you have a hiking buddy, a cell phone, hydration — drink lots of water because it gets to you,” Waltz said.
In addition to recent rescues, a a woman’s body was found at Piestewa Peak June 10. It is not known what she died of and authorities are investigating.