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Sweaty trails: Phoenix hiking paths to remain open during heatwave

Signs warning of extreme heat are placed on a trailhead, Wednesday, June 22, 2016, at Piestewa Peak in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — Despite temperatures that could creep above 120 degrees over the next few days, hiking trails in the city of Phoenix will remain open.

However, that doesn’t mean the city is encouraging people to hit the trails. Gregg Bach, a spokesman for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, said rangers will be out to talk to people about staying safe.

“When we experience these excessive heat warnings and situations, we increase the visibility of rangers at many of our high-traffic trailheads,” he said.

Bach said those who choose to brave the heat need to stay hydrated.

“Hydration doesn’t mean starting to drink water once you’re at the trail,” Bach said. “That means drinking water the night before, drinking water in the morning before you head to the trail and then having plenty of water with you on the hike and continuing that hydration afterwards.”

Dehydration can set in quickly, especially at high elevations and even in air-conditioned environments. Symptoms include lethargy, dizziness, dry mouth and increased thirst.

Bach said people heading outdoors should also take other precautions.

“Lighter clothing – that will help wick sweat away from your body, and help keep your body cool,” he said. “[Don’t forget] a hat and sunscreen, and bring a cell phone.”

Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can also come on very quickly as well.

A person suffering from heat exhaustion would have clammy, pale skin, sweat profusely and have a weak, rapid pulse.

Heat stroke was more dangerous and could be deadly. Symptoms included a throbbing headache, a lack of sweat and rapid, shallow breathing.

Dogs were not permitted on hiking trails if the temperature surpasses 100 degrees. Violators could be charged with a Class One misdemeanor.

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