Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

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Thoreau
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Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

Meeting is tomorrow, July 13th...

https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/lo ... 945916002/

"The Phoenix fire union is asking the city’s Parks and Recreation board to consider closing several challenging Valley trails on days with an excessive heat watch.

During a public meeting on Tuesday, members of the United Phoenix Firefighters Association will request restrictions to three trailheads at Camelback Mountain and Piestewa Peak when outside temperatures reach 105 degrees."

Some of my best times on those trails were very much above 105 degrees. It's the only time the crowds thin out enough to get a good pace going.
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

I love how that story was published today at 736pm. Deadline to register to speak at the meeting being today as well (as if the city is open late taking such requests.)
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chumley
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

@Thoreau While The Arizona Republic may not have considered it to be newsworthy before today, the meeting notice was posted on July 6.

https://www.phoenix.gov/cityclerksite/P ... 713005.pdf
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ShatteredArm
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by ShatteredArm »

Why does this keep coming up? It should be common knowledge by now that closing the trails will only result in more problems, because people will go out there anyways but have fewer people to help them if they're distressed.
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RedRoxx44
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by RedRoxx44 »

They should just post a sign " Go Ahead, but F you if you want any help. Call someone who cares, we don't"
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joebartels
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by joebartels »

If swinging the ol' safety-first bat, stop closing the parks when the death star is blocked by the earth.
- joe
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

@joebartels
Right?

Aside from disallowing use during the "safer" lower temperatures, I've personally seen injuries on the trail (involving the fire department, morphine, and a lotta blood... not me tho!) because people end up rushing to get back down and out of the parking lot before the tickets start at sunset.
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AugustWest
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by AugustWest »

The issue here is what we can expect from our first responders. Is it unreasonable to assume that the peril of the teams engaged in multiple rescues on a daily basis is within the bounds of responsibilities of the Phoenix Fire Department? I will only go up Camelback on what I believe will be the hottest day of the year. Time after time I encounter idiots who despite the countless posted and verbal warnings to be prepared for extreme conditions, put their own lives in danger. By proxy every rescue in these conditions places firefighters at risk of injury and potentially death. The union seems well within the parameters of common sense to seek this closure regardless of how much many of us will suffer at the fate of the unprepared and just plain stupid.
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chumley
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

I'd like to see some data.

How many hikers visit these trailheads on days of varying temperatures.

How many incidents requiring PFD assistance occur on the trails accessed by these trailheads on days of varying temperatures.

How many incidents requiring PFD assistance occur on the trails accessed by these trailheads by people who are local residents, non-local visitors, and what age ranges do they fall under.

How many incidents have resulted in injury to PFD officials.

Let's gather the data and make informed decisions based on what we learn, instead of how we feel.
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trekkin_gecko
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by trekkin_gecko »

two years ago i hiked camelback on a regular basis during summer months
i have a temperature limit that seems reasonable to me - nothing extreme
rarely saw anyone who i felt should not have been there, but it's easy to get overheated and/or dehydrated even if fit
a couple of times i mentioned to rangers that they should keep an eye out for a certain person or group
i'm not a fan of punishing everyone for the actions of a few
but i do understand the potential of putting first responders at risk
some objective data would be interesting
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ShatteredArm
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by ShatteredArm »

I'm not sure closing the trails will reduce risk for first responders. We do know it will increase the risk for hikers because people will ignore the rules, but have nobody around to help them. First responders might even need to do more because there may be some cases where other people being around to help alleviates the need for a first responder to get involved.
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

Some good intelligent discussion in the meeting. Surprising.
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

aaaaaand its going downhill now....
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nonot
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by nonot »

ShatteredArm wrote: Jul 13 2021 4:18 pm I'm not sure closing the trails will reduce risk for first responders. We do know it will increase the risk for hikers because people will ignore the rules, but have nobody around to help them. First responders might even need to do more because there may be some cases where other people being around to help alleviates the need for a first responder to get involved.
If they close the trails then I wouldn't expect first responders to respond to emergencies at all.

They clearly indicate in the article that they recognize the danger to rescuers of attempting rescue in the heat, and have evidence of firefighter injuries during these rescue attempts, and are requesting that the closure of the trails be the method associated with the firefighters refusing to conduct rescue.
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

passed. only porter and perea voted no.
20210713_183352-01.jpeg
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nonot
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by nonot »

chumley wrote: Jul 13 2021 2:50 pm I'd like to see some data.

How many hikers visit these trailheads on days of varying temperatures.

How many incidents requiring PFD assistance occur on the trails accessed by these trailheads on days of varying temperatures.

How many incidents requiring PFD assistance occur on the trails accessed by these trailheads by people who are local residents, non-local visitors, and what age ranges do they fall under.

How many incidents have resulted in injury to PFD officials.

Let's gather the data and make informed decisions based on what we learn, instead of how we feel.
Perhaps you should start with the numbers in the article, unless you are suggesting that the newspaper cannot be believed:

June 2021:
at least 15 rescues during the month
at least 5 of the rescues were known to be due to the heat
at least 2 firefighters suffered severe heat-related injuries during rescues
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
Hike Arizona it is full of striking, biting, stabbing, venomous wildlife!
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chumley
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

@nonot
What was the temperature on the days that the 5 heat-related rescues occurred? Was it over 105? 110? 115? Did they occur between 11am and 5pm?
How old were the hikers?
How many hikers hiked those trails on those days? (eg. what percentage fall ill?)
What was the AQI on those days? Ozone? Particulates?
Why were 66% of the rescues reported in the article not heat-related? Should more effort should be focused on non-heat-related incidents?
The article says that in 2020, 190 rescues occurred on other trails. Is the risk to the public lower on those than on Camelback and Pie?
I don't know the answers to any of these questions. But I'd be curious to learn more.
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nonot
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by nonot »

@chumley
It seems as if this is a reactive policy. i.e. Firefighters were injured...so let's not go through that again on those trails where the difficulty of the trails requested to be closed (as cited in the article) presents the risk of a repeated firefighter injury.

If you are seeking to proactively close yet other trails that do not appear to directly have been linked to firefighter injuries yet, then I can understand the relevance of your questions, and agree that there would need to be justification for closing even more trails. Luckily for now, the closure is only for those few particular trails. South mountains, for example, you can drive to the top and walk mostly downhill, so their current justification for closure wouldn't seem as if it could apply to those trails.

If you really are interested in the data, you can always fill out a form:
https://www.phoenix.gov/pio/public-records-request

I suspect you will likely be charged a small-to-moderate fee for processing the paperwork, photocopy, etc.
http://hikearizona.com/garmin_maps.php

Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, ankle-twisting, HAZmaster crushing ROCKS!!
Hike Arizona it is full of sharp, pointy, shin-stabbing, skin-shredding plants!
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Thoreau
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by Thoreau »

Another collection of metrics that will apparently be interesting (although Phoenix Fire had nothing but excuses for why they didn't even have the basics on hand, or why they can't be bothered to collect data)...

It was a pretty solid consensus in the meeting that much like closing a road, traffic will simply go elsewhere. Problems are not eliminated, they are relocated.

The shutdown crowd seemed okay with this because those alternative routes/locations where the displaced hikers will go will be 'easier' trails for rescues to be performed on. Probably fair enough in general, not that there aren't other difficult locations. But...

A question that wasn't brought up is how effective will the same rescue personnel resources be in that case? Right now, they're fairly concentrated on those two nearby mountains. This allows for potentially easier management of multiple incidents in quick succession (as was demonstrated in the June incident which I contend is a sign of a shortage of personnel, not a need to shutter trails.) There's also the fact that training is very common on those two trails, so rescue teams are familiar with the area and its challenges. Now rescues will be more spread out and in locations that may be totally new, or at least not nearly as familiar to crews as these two peaks. To say nothing of impact on response time.

These crews aren't just whichever fire house is nearest, they are a specific subset of personnel with specific training for mountain rescue.

All in all, the biggest issue at hand that WAS bought up repeatedly is the complete lack of actual information, meaningful data/statistics (one month is hardly what policy should be based upon.)

But hey, since their stats in the meeting DID show 90 days last year of 105 or greater, I guess we can look forward to 3 months of shutdowns being the baseline of acceptable 'compromise.'

This passage IS explicitly only for the date range in my screenshot above.. July 16th through September 30th of this year. After that, the policy is defacto dead unless renewed or re-passed in whatever new form. How often is ANYTHING in government truly temporary? Conversation from one council member even turned to analysis to determine what additional trails could be shuttered for the same cause.

Edit: Porter requested data prior. She got snubbed by the FD. They would rather speed-ram this through than take a moment to analyze the data. Gotta capitalize on the current crisis while its (no pun...) hot.
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chumley
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Re: Union wants to close some trails because "ermagherd so warm"

Post by chumley »

@nonot
What I'm really interested in is public policy based on relevant data.

Risks can be mitigated in many activities without prohibiting them outright. We don't ban cars because sometimes they crash and people are injured. Nor are swimming pools banned because of repeated tragic child drownings. We collect data on the causes and then develop policies that reduce the risks.

In this case, it appears that rather than gathering (or studying already-available) data, a decision was made to ban an activity based on some arbitrary parameters that may or may not be relevant to the risk.

Closing the trails will undoubtedly reduce the number of rescue incidents versus when trails are open. If that was the only consideration, then the goal will certainly be achieved.
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