PHOENIX - Park rangers will be closing the gates to Phoenix's desert parks and mountain preserves at 3 p.m. on July 4 in an effort to reduce fire dangers in the city.
This includes some of the most popular hiking spots in the Valley, including Camelback Mountain, Lookout Mountain, Papago Park and South Mountain.
The upper lookouts within the South Mountain Park and Preserve will also be emptied and closed at 1 p.m. that day.
The trails will reopen at the regularly scheduled time on July 5.
The move comes in addition to the fire ban that went into effect back in May.
Anyone who visits parks and preserves in the city are banned from using fireworks, and open wood and charcoal fires are prohibited. However, propane or gas grills can be used in established picnic areas.
Additionally, smoking outside of enclosed vehicles is not allowed, along with alcoholic beverages and glass containers.
Consumer fireworks are not allowed year-round in a one-mile radius of any mountain preserve, desert park, regional park, national forest, conservation area or wilderness area in Maricopa County.
Tips on hiking safely
The City of Phoenix also provided some tips on hiking in the heat:
- Hike when it's cool outside, especially in the mornings and evenings when there's more shade.
- Wear proper shoes, clothing and sunscreen.
- Bring more water than you think you need.
- Carry a cellphone.
- Hike with others. If going solo, tell other people where you're going.
- Be aware of your health, and don't push yourself too hard.
- Stay on designated trails.
- Be a responsible hiker - prepare, follow safety guidelines and don't go if you shouldn't be there for medical reasons.
Preventing heat exhaustion/heat stroke
The Arizona Department of Health Services stated the following precautions can be taken to prevent heat exhaustion or heat stroke:
- Stay in air-conditioned buildings
- Limit outdoor activity during the hottest part of the day (mid-day)
- Check on at-risk friends, family, and neighbors at least twice a day
- Drink water before, during, and after working or exercising outside
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