Saturday, December 16, 2017
Tampa Bay Weather

In deadly heat, Southwest takes steps to keep visitors safe

TUCSON, Ariz. — Last year, a French couple died while trying to make sure their young son had enough water on a broiling summertime outing in a New Mexico national park.

Over the weekend, two Germans visiting Tucson for a conference succumbed to the record-breaking heat after taking a hike.

Amid a string of heat-related deaths — and another staggering heat wave — officials in the Southwest are increasing their efforts to alert visitors to the perils of being outdoors in extreme heat.

Local governments and businesses are improving signage and brochures, including making warnings and vital information available in different languages. They're also educating hotel staff on what to tell tourists with plans for the outdoors.

But it's not just those from out of town at risk. Most people who end up dying or needing to be rescued when the temperature soars are locals who ignore warnings, law enforcement officials say.

At Death Valley National Park, where thousands flock to experience the hottest place on Earth, large red signs warn visitors to be careful in the extreme temperatures.

But that hasn't kept people from trying to hike, and the park in California and Nevada has seen its share of rescue operations.

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