Phoenix proposes hiking ban during hot temperatures

Phoenix may close hiking trails in its more than 40,000 acres of desert preserves during intense heat that statewide already has claimed several lives this summer.

Temperatures reaching 110 degrees would prompt the closure of city trails for people, through a policy under consideration this week. Dogs would be stopped from hiking when the mercury hits 100 degrees.

The Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board, which has authority to implement the rules, will consider the change June 30, 2016.

The closures seek to ensure hiker safety and limit mountain rescues, said Gregg Bach, spokesman for the Parks and Recreation Department. But enforcement of the rules and the consequences for violating them still are “fuzzy,” he said.

More direction on how to manage the potential closures could come from the board meeting, Bach said.

The policy would escalate the city’s efforts to educate hikers about life-threatening heat, Bach said. The department also wants to limit the danger to first responders who perform mountain rescues, according to the meeting agenda.

The proposal comes after six hikers died statewide in one weekend earlier this month.

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