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Closing Phoenix hiking trails on hot days helps no one


Members of the Phoenix Fire Department's Technical Rescue Team begin a mountain rescue on Echo Canyon Trail at Camelback Mountain on July 11, 2021.

You would expect that when the heat is on, cooler heads would prevail.

That didn’t quite happen with the Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, whose decision this week to begin closing popular hiking trails on Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak during periods of high heat appeared knee-jerk and misplaced.

Distressed hikers might have been top of mind, although you can argue that Phoenix firefighters and paramedics who come to their rescue may have been more so. Regardless, no one’s best interests were served, really.

The board’s decision followed a request for trail restrictions from a firefighters union, citing three back-to-back mountain rescues on a recent day when temperatures hit 116 degrees. The calls resulted in two firefighters requiring hospitalization for acute renal failure from dehydration and exhaustion.


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