TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - It was a busy Labor Day weekend for firefighters and deputies across Arizona, as extreme heat got the best of several hikers.
Sunday afternoon, Sept. 6, a woman called 911 from the Linda Vista trail in Oro Valley after being overcome by dizziness.
Golder Ranch Fire District personnel, assisted by members of Northwest Fire District and the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, rushed to help.
“We are assuming it was heat-related,” said Capt. Adam Jarrold, the GRFD public information officer. “She had been hiking during a very hot part of the day.”
Jarrold says hiker rescue calls are common this time of year.
“It’s Labor Day weekend, people are trying to get out, have fun, do something different,” he said. “People are getting a bit stir crazy.”
For some, a new month may suggest summer is over. “People think September kind of correlates with fall, right? But it’s still summer outside,” Jarrold said. “It’s still hot, over 105 degrees.”
Golder Ranch assisted Northwest Fire with two separate rescues on Friday, Sept. 4, and it’s not just local firefighters fielding calls. The Phoenix Fire Department responded to more than a half dozen incidents over the long weekend. One of those rescues involved an entire group of people displaying heat-related symptoms on Sunday. “Everyone across the region is having problems with this; responding to the hiker rescues,” Jarrold said.
Which is why officials are warning people now is not a good time to go hiking.
“It could really come [down] to people dying on the trail,” Jarrold said. “I mean, you get so hot, your body goes into heat stroke and it’s really tough to recover from that.”
For those who plan on getting outdoors anyway, Jarrold suggest you bring at least one liter of water for every hour spent on the trail. Once you are halfway through your water supply, it’s a good idea to turn around and head back. Jarrold said traveling in a group and taking a fully-charged phone can also help mitigate some of the risks.
Golder Ranch Fire says the woman rescued on the Linda Vista trail this weekend was taken to the hospital but her condition had been stabilized.