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Excessive heat warning in effect; Sheriff issues safety tips for hikers

July 11, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for San Diego County’s desert areas, cautioning that conditions “could be deadly” for unprepared campers or hikers. 

That message comes too late for Lynn Thu Tran, 19, of Escondido.  She was found unconscious with signs of heat stroke on the Julian side of Cedar Creek Falls at 5:30 p.m. on July 9. She was airlifted to Palomar Hospital but did not survive.  According to the Medical Examiner, she died of hypethermia, conditions related to a heat stroke.

The Sheriff's Department is reminding the public to take precautions during  outdoor activities. Sheriff's ASTREA has been called to rescue hikers repeatedly near Cedar Creek Falls, in addition to responding to the fatality.

On July 10 at 2:30 p.m., ASTREA responded to a call of two distressed hikers with a dog. The couple only needed water and was able to walk back on their own, but their dog needed rescue.

While transporting the dog, ASTREA was flagged by another group of hikers. The rescue crew found a 79yearold man sitting against a rock complaining of weakness and dizziness. He was hoisted to an ambulance at a nearby CALFIRE station. The man and the dog will recover.

Since January of 2012, ASTREA has performed four rescues at Cedar Creek Falls. 20 rescues were made at Cedar Creek Falls from January to July of 2011.

No matter your level of health, anyone needs to be careful of the dangers of walking in the heat. Take it easy when temperatures are this hot. Move your exercise indoors or schedule any outdoor activity for early morning or evening to avoid the real heat of the day. It's also important to remember your pets and ensure they are not over exposed to heat and have plenty of water.

Here are other safety tips from the Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit:

  •  Buddy up – Walk or exercise with a partner. It's fun and it's safer. If something happens along the way, you'll have someone at your side to help.
  •  Phone home – Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Your cell phone could provide a necessary connection to emergency assistance.
  •  Drink up – stay hydrated before, during and after exercise
  •  Dress for the heat – wear lightweight, lightcolored and breathable clothing. Bring a hat and sunglasses. Wear sunscreen.
  •  Take regular breaks – find some shade or a cool place to stop.
  •  Head inside – if the heat seems overwhelming, don't sweat it.


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Practice Safe Hiking

Opening this during the summer time was not a brilliant idea for a couple reason. Spending the amount of money they did to make this trail more accessible was mistake. This trail, while short, is one for more experienced hikers. This trail causes more money to be spent on rescues than the PCT. The heat it's self makes hikers want to jump in the water, and in the waterfalls. Closing this trail in the summer as apposed to winter when the weather is cooler makes more sense. People will be less encouraged by weather to jump in the freezing water.

Lets talk about some survival tips.

1, Leave the dog at home, in this heat, you're just punishing them. If you do bring your dog, bring a tarp to set up shade for them and your self. Doesn't have to be to big, just something to get some relief.
3. Hat, sunglasses, sun screen, Proper shoes, (NO Shape ups!!!) Light colored, loose fitted clothing. Leave the spandex and yoga pants at home!
5. Cell phone of course.
6. Bring some gatorade to help replenish the electrolytes you're losing by the minute.

Again, leave to dog at home, it's just not smart to bring them out, as well as kids and elderly. Finally, do not become a liability to your fellow hikers. I cant tell you home many people I see when I hike have no water, improper clothing, etc... IF you don't bring your own water, people have to give up what they have and may suffer for it them selves.


Cedar creek ftrail from Ramona still closed

The hikers entered from the Julian side closer to Three sisters falls as stated in the article. The Cedar creek falls trail from Ramona is still closed.

Excellent advice for hiikers, Brady. Here are some more tips.

Have GPS on your phone to help searchers find you, or carry a separate GPS device. 

Water - lots of it--is a must as you noted.  Energy gel packets sold at hiking supply stores also help; a friend gave me one at Three Sisters Falls when I was feeling too fatigued for the steep return hike. Bring snacks to replenish your energy, including protein items.  

Carry a hiking stick to steady yourself on the trail, and also poke it ahead of you on the trail to help prevent you from stepping on a snake.

Bring a mirror to signal for help, and if you are hiking late in the day, carry a jacket in case you are stranded overnight especially in colder weather. 

Know the trail. Cedar Creek Falls is very steep and has little or no shade.  A hat with a brim is a good idea. 

I will echo your advice on leaving the dogs home.  Several have died on this trail.  There is also the potential for rattlesnake bites; never let dogs run loose through the brush anywhere in East County.

Never, ever jump or dive off rocks.  It's illegal and dangerous; several people have been killed doing this. 

Check weather reports before you go -- and don't even think about it if thundershowers are forecast.