Teenager Dies Hiking in Intense Heat

A teenager died hiking in the sweltering temperatures in San Diego County.

The 18-year-old woman was hiking a trail at Three Sisters Falls in Julian Tuesday around 4 p.m. when she began having trouble.

A friend called for help after the teenager started showing signs of “heat-related physical distress,” according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department. The temperature in the area at the time was nearing 90 degrees. 

The teen was flown to the hospital where she died. Her name has not been released.

Cal Fire has received many emergency calls from people not prepared for the heat, according to Fire Captain Kendal Bortisser.

“If you start drinking water when you’re thirsty, it’s too late then,” Bortisser said.

Point Loma resident Borden Hughes, 71, hikes Cowles Mountain at Mission Trails Regional Park several times a week. He said other hikers on the trail don’t bring enough water.

“They will carry a half liter, it will be very hot and they’ll be splitting it with someone else, and it’s not enough,” Hughes said.

“I’ve given water away because I’ve found people in trouble,” he added.

Kinga Jablecki of Eastlake brought visitors from Chicago to Mission Trails Regional Park on Wednesday despite the scorching heat.

“We came prepared, and we all survived,” she said.

Bortisser shared these tips to prevent heat exhaustion:

  • Check the weather report before you go.
  • Have a map and a plan of where you’ll hike.
  • Consider the physical stamina in everyone in the group.
  • Never hike alone.
  • Take plenty of water and protein snacks.
  • Stay on the trail and watch where you step.
  • Bring a whistle. (You may not have cell coverage.)
  • Let someone know where you’re going.

Bortisser said hikers need to recognize the signs of heat exhaustion, which include headache, fatigue, chest pains, cottonmouth and excessive sweating.

Temperatures are continuing to climb. A heat advisory goes into effect at 11 a.m. Thursday for San Diego County mountains and deserts.

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