Joshua Tree National Park. Credit: NPS/Samantha Laarman

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK, California – It’s hot in Joshua Tree National Park. Today, according to The Weather Channel, it’s meant to reach 104°F, and early next week it could reach over 110°F. As such, park rangers are encouraging visitors to prepare themselves for brutal heat.

We ask that park visitors consider taking advantage of shorter trails closer to sunrise and sunset, stargazing under the dark night sky, and visiting the park’s visitor centers and exhibits. Please keep rescuers and yourself safe.” – Anna Marini, coordinator for the Joshua Tree Preventative Search and Rescue

Visitors are asked to avoid hiking during the day, between 10am and 5pm, to avoid the high heats. Extra food and water should be packed, and visitors should plan to stick to shorter hikes.

Joshua Tree Preventative Search and Rescue, a volunteer group that specializes in visitor education, talked to nearly 2,500 visitors during the month of June, discussing hiking preparation, trail options, and safety tips. 300 of those contacts identified serious safety concerns.

Four search and rescue incidents in Joshua Tree NP involved heat related illness between 10am and 5pm during the month of June. Two of those hikes were on trails longer than 2 miles.

Temperatures in the triple digits have already been recorded in lower elevations. The park can see temperatures as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. There is no water or shade inside the park. Hiking in extreme heat can lead to serious health risks, including heat stroke, hyponatremia, and death. Signs of heat stroke can range from nausea, vomiting, headache and/or cramps, weak and rapid pulse, high body temperature, confusion, unconsciousness and/or seizures. The health effects of heat exposure can happen to anyone.

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