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Woman Dies in Triple-Digit Heat While Hiking in Arizona’s Grand Canyon
The scorching summer heat has claimed another victim in the majestic Grand Canyon. A 57-year-old hiker was discovered lifeless in the Tuweep section of the national park on July 3. With temperatures reaching an alarming 114 degrees in certain areas, this tragic incident serves as a grim reminder of the dangers posed by extreme heat.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident. Every year, multiple heat-related deaths are reported, particularly in the Western United States. National parks, which attract countless adventurers and nature enthusiasts, are particularly vulnerable to such fatalities.
Cynthia Hernandez, a public affairs specialist for the National Park Service, acknowledged that despite the risks, the allure of national parks remains strong. “People are still excited about coming out to national parks in whatever condition there exists out there, even in high heat conditions,” Hernandez told ABC News.
Recent records obtained by ABC News from the National Park Service reveal that this summer has witnessed a higher number of heat-related deaths compared to any other year since 2007. At least five individuals have succumbed to heat-related illnesses in national parks since the beginning of summer.
Tragic incidents unfolded in various parks across the nation. In Texas’ Big Bend National Park, a 14-year-old boy tragically lost his life on June 23, with his father perishing while searching for him. On July 3, the lifeless body of a 65-year-old man was found inside his car, just 30 yards off-road from North Highway Death Valley National Park in California. Most recently, on July 18, a 71-year-old man died at the Golden Canyon trailhead at Death Valley National Park. Heat illness is presumed to have played a significant role in each of these deaths, according to the National Park Service.
Despite the risks, national parks like the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and Big Bend continue to experience a surge in visitors. The allure of these awe-inspiring destinations remains irresistible, drawing in adventure-seekers from all over.
To ensure the safety of those venturing into national parks, Kathleen Davenport, the medical director for emergency departments at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical School, offers some crucial advice. Davenport suggests allowing the body time to acclimate to the new environment before embarking on a journey. Pre-hydration is essential, and it is advisable to avoid venturing out between 10 am and 3 pm, the hottest part of the day. Taking frequent breaks in shaded areas is vital, and if experiencing symptoms such as dizziness or nausea, it is crucial to rest in the shade after cooling down the body with a wet shirt or towel.
As nature enthusiasts continue to flock to national parks, it is essential to prioritize safety and be aware of the risks posed by extreme heat. By taking necessary precautions and heeding expert advice, visitors can enjoy the beauty of these natural marvels while safeguarding their well-being.
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