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Phoenix park officials keep hiking trails open during high heat

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LISTEN: Inger Erickson - Phoenix Parks and Recreation Director

PHOENIX — Going outside in Phoenix may seem like the last thing you would want to do on Monday, but believe it or not, some people will attempt to hit hiking trails around the city.

With the high temperature approaching 120 degrees, it would serve to think most people would want to spend their leisure time in a nice, cool body of water. But the city keeps trails open despite the heat.

Park rangers are stationed at trailheads to inform hikers of the dangers posed by the extreme temperatures and, once it gets hot enough, rangers also set up special water stations.

“We’ll be setting up hydration stations,” park ranger Jim Sweazy said. “Once it gets over 110, we set up little places to get extra water.”

Tim McCarthy, an experienced hiker, said Phoenix’s extreme heat is something amateurs should not take lightly.

“Probably at 108-110 (degrees), if I didn’t have experience, I wouldn’t go,” he said before hitting a trail at Piestewa Peak. “You’ve got to use your head and be prepared.”

McCarthy said he carries extra water and rags to help cool his skin while hiking in such extreme heat. He also said he takes a little more time on the trail to avoid overexertion.

Four people died from heat-related illness while hiking on Arizona trails over the weekend.

KTAR’s Jim Cross contributed to this report.

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