Authorities blame heat for death of homeless man in Apache Junction
PHOENIX — A homeless man was found dead in the desert in Apache Junction on Tuesday, the second consecutive day temperatures climbed above 110 in the Phoenix area.
Richard Ochs of the Superstition Fire and Medical Department said excessive heat was responsible for the 48-year-old man’s death.
Ochs said a friend of the man went to check on him and found him dead in the desert south of Baseline Avenue.
An excessive heat warning was in effect through Wednesday as temperatures soared across the Valley. Monday’s high was 115 degrees in Phoenix, a record for the date, and similar temperatures were forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Sunday, Valley rescue crews responded to at least five calls to assist hikers affected by the heat.
Capt. Jake Van Hook with the Phoenix Fire Department said hikers should only hit the trails this time of year in the early morning hours or later in the day, after the sun has dipped behind a mountain or a hill “where you don’t have that direct exposure to the sun.”
Van Hook said morning hikers should consider wrapping up their hike by 10 a.m. or 11 a.m., when temperatures can creep into the triple digits.
“We are certainly not restricting anyone in terms of when they can and can’t hike, but we try to educate people to hike smart,” he said.