ST. GEORGE, Utah (ABC4) – Is it a good time to go hiking in Southern Utah? Probably not, unless you plan on waking up and getting out super early while it’s still cool.
Just this weekend, a woman died visiting Grand Canyon National Park on Sunday after reportedly experiencing heat illness. Now, National Park officials are warning recreators of the dangers that can sneak up on unsuspecting visitors.
Park officials say it’s important to prepare days before your trip. Over two dozen emergency calls have been made at Zion National Park, the majority of them just in the last three weeks due to heat, according to Zion National Park’s Chief Ranger Daniel Fagergren.
“Over the weekend, we had about a half dozen occur on the western trail, all within a two hour period,” he says.
In Southern Utah, the temperature’s been closer to 110 degrees for the majority of the last two weeks, according to ABC4 Meteorologist Cesar Cornejo.
“We’re kind of hitting territory where we usually see temperatures around July and August, but in the early parts of June,” says Cornejo.
Fagergen says if your core body reaches 103 degrees and stays there, you could experience heat stroke.
“Usually red or sunburnt, muscle cramps, nauseous, vomitting,” says Fagergen.
Fagergen says if you notice someone experiencing a heat realted illness, call 911 and get them to shade immediately and cool them off.
“Know what the temperature is, know what the weather is doing, know what kind of hike you’re doing, and limit the hike to your capability,” he says.
Cornejo says don’t be fooled by monsoon-like moisture this week either.
“Temperatures cool down, we see some possible rain, but then we see another heat dome that sits on top of us that really starts to crank up the heat this weekend, and that’s when people get caught off guard and become susceptible to heat illness,” says Cornejo.
And wear sunscreen, to prevent a sunburn that can make a heat related illness worse.
Rangers say make sure you’re keeping salty snacks on hand in this heat, drink plenty of water, even mix in some electrolytes in your water to help prevent a heat related illness.