Hiking safety tips from CAL FIRE/Riverside County

Pristine Villarreal

COACHELLA VALLEY, CA – With local weather improving, more snowbirds are visiting the Coachella Valley.

For Canadians Bradley Itzcovitch and Hannah Reynish, one of their favorite outdoor activities while visiting the area is hiking the Bump and Grind Loop in Palm Desert.

“From not being from this type of climate, there’s differences,” Itzcovitch said. “Nice amount of scenic in elevation but still being close to the start.”

A wonderful way to exercise in nature. Local first responders, however, say hiking in our desert can be very dangerous.

“We come up here quite a bit for rescues,” said battalion chief Matthew Kotz of CAL FIRE, Riverside County.

Chief Kotz and his team increase patrolling local popular hiking spots during the tourist season.

He says hiking safety starts with proper preparation.

“Prehydrate. Stay hydrated. Hike with a partner and stick to a marked trail,” Kotz said.

“We want you to pay attention to the weather conditions. Wear a hat, take a cell phone, make sure it’s charged, and also take a quart of water,” Kotz added. “What i suggest is to take one quart of water per mile of hiking.”

CAL FIRE rescues multiple hikers a year and says those efforts impact other resources.

“When we get a call for service for somebody in need on the hiking trail, it requires a huge response from CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department,” Kotz said. “We’re happy to provide that for the citizens because obviously someone is in need.”

When it comes to hiking in the Coachella Valley, stay on the trails and stay safe. Because what you know before you go could save a life.

This story was written and reported by Kai Beech.

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