With abnormally high temperatures, forecast high winds and the potential for dry thunderstorms visitors to Coronado National Forest are encouraged to plan their outings and use situational awareness while recreating.
“Weather forecasts predict above average temperatures, high winds and the potential for dry lightning Friday through Sunday across the Forest,” said Kerwin Dewberry, Forest Supervisor. “These conditions favor ignition and spread of wildfire. They also require advance planning for recreationists who won’t want to get caught in storms.”
Summer temperatures can rise quickly, and high temperatures combined with low relative humidity can lead to potential heat-related illness for those engaging in outdoor activities.
Thunderstorms can materialize quickly, catching visitors off-guard. Isolated to scattered thunderstorms are anticipated primarily during the afternoon and evening hours Friday through Sunday. Visitors should plan to conclude outdoor activities earlier in the day. Should a thunderstorm materialize, vehicles or structures are safe places to shelter.
Recreationists are encouraged to plan and prepare for summer outings:
• All campfires, charcoal grills and barbeques and wood burning stoves are currently banned in all areas of the Forest to prevent human-caused wildfires.
• Recreational shooting is prohibited in all areas of the Forest to prevent human-caused wildfires.
• Visitors are encouraged to follow Centers fir Disease Control and Prevention guidelines including social distancing.
• Become familiar with the area you plan to visit. Information can be obtained from visitor centers (virtual services at this time), ranger stations (virtual services at this time), websites, brochures and posted signs. It is important to know terrain, access, forecast weather conditions, wildlife considerations including presence of large predators and venomous reptiles, and potential challenges of the area, such as spiny plants in the southwestern deserts.
• Plan your trip. Have an itinerary and follow it. Avoid hiking alone. Advise others of where you are going, when you leave, and when you plan to return.
• Research current and forecast weather conditions. Check with local weather forecasters or National Weather Service websites or recordings from the area you plan to visit. If adverse weather is forecast, change your plans.
• Be prepared. Dress for current and forecast weather conditions. Wear appropriate shoes. Carry sunscreen, snacks, plenty of drinking water, and a cell phone.
• Know your limitations, use situational awareness, listen to your body. Are skills and endurance matched to the planned hike? Does weather add challenges such as heat, dryness, sudden thunderstorms or flash flooding? If adverse weather conditions are forecast on the day of a planned hike, a safer plan may be a short hike, a short loop, hiking in a different location or indoor walking. Be aware of environmental conditions and pay attention to how you feel. During extreme heat, hikers should rest, rehydrate and return to their starting point at the first signs of discomfort.
Prevention is the best course of action for summertime recreation. By researching the environment and forecast weather conditions, planning ahead, preparing for conditions, maintaining flexibility and using situational awareness, visitors to the great outdoors can safely engage in a variety of recreational experiences during the summer months.