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Hiker Dies In Joshua Tree As Temps Approach 100 Degrees

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Joshua Tree National Park (Photo by Marc Evans via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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As temperatures continue to linger near the triple digits, state officials are warning people to be careful following the death of a 56-year-old hiker in Joshua Tree National Park. The woman, whose identity has not been released at this time, was hiking with her family in the Cottonwood section of the park on Saturday, according to the L.A. Times. Temperatures that day were near 100 degrees, with the National Weather Service reporting a high of about 97 degrees, according to the Press Enterprise. The family had set out at 10 a.m. with the intention of taking the Mastodon Peak Trail, but ended up towards the Lost Palms Oasis by mistake. It was after they turned around and headed back towards Mastodon Peak that the woman passed out. Her husband sought help, but she was not breathing by the time a park ranger arrived at 2:30 p.m. She was pronounced dead by paramedics in an ambulance.

Park spokesperson Jenni Albrinck said the woman showed signs of heat stress, though the Riverside County corner's office is still investigating her death.

It is going to continue to be very warm across Southern California, with temperatures in Joshua Tree remaining over 100 degrees until Wednesday, then hovering in the high 90s through the rest of the week.

Albrinck has advised hikers to bring plenty of food and water, and to "avoid hiking in the middle of the day when it is the hottest." More safety information can be found on the park's website here.

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Temperatures are also anticipated to remain in the triple digits in Santa Clarita, San Fernando and Antelope valleys, as well as the foothills and the San Gabriel Mountains at lower elevations through Wednesday. The Department of Public Health declared a high heat alert for affected areas through Wednesday and may extend the alert "if weather conditions do not improve."

Signs of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, pale and clammy moist skin, extreme weakness or fatigue, muscle cramps, headache, dizziness or confusion, nausea or vomiting, fast and shallow breathing, and fainting. Should you find yourself experiencing these symptoms, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health advises you seek medical attention.