Last Updated on August 2, 2023
July 23, 2023 – A heatwave gripping the western United States has claimed the lives of several hikers and pets in national parks across the country.
In Death Valley National Park, a 71-year-old man died on July 19 after hiking in the park’s Dante’s View area.
The man, who has not been identified, was found by park rangers after he failed to return from his hike. The temperature in the area on the day the man died was over 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
In Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park, two women were found dead on July 17 after hiking in the park’s White Domes area.
The women, identified as 67-year-old Mary Ellen O’Toole and 65-year-old Barbara Parisi, were not properly prepared for the heat and did not have enough water with them. The temperature in the area on the day the women died was over 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
In addition to the deaths of hikers, several pets have also died in national parks during the heatwave.
In Death Valley National Park, a dog died after venturing in the park’s Badwater Basin area. The dog, a golden retriever, was found by park rangers after it failed to return from its hike. The temperature in the area on the day the dog died was over 125 degrees Fahrenheit.
The deaths of these hikers and pets have highlighted the dangers of heatstroke and dehydration during a heatwave.
Heatstroke is a life-threatening condition that occurs when the body’s temperature rises to over 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Dehydration occurs when the body loses more fluids than it takes in. Both heatstroke and dehydration can cause a number of serious health problems, including seizures, coma, and death.
National park officials are urging visitors to be aware of the dangers of heatstroke and dehydration during the heatwave. They are also urging visitors to bring plenty of water and snacks with them on hikes, and to wear proper hiking attire.
“Heat-related illnesses are a serious threat to visitors and park staff,” said Cynthia Hernandez, a park service spokesperson. “We urge everyone to be aware of the dangers and to take steps to stay safe.”
Here are some safety tips for visiting national parks during the ongoing heatwave:
- Hike during the cooler hours of the day, early in the morning or late in the evening.
- Bring plenty of water and snacks.
- Wear proper hiking attire, including sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
- Be aware of the signs of heatstroke and dehydration, and take action if you or someone you are with is experiencing these symptoms.
If you are planning to visit a national park during a heatwave, it is important to be prepared and to take precautions to stay safe.
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