Trails in Santa Monica Mountains remain closed after weekend of rescues, hiker’s death

Local news

After multiple rescues across Southern California and the death of a hiker near the Malibu Creek trail over the hot weekend, all trails at the Santa Monica Mountains remain closed on Labor Day.

The Malibu Search and Rescue Team announced the closure of the coastal range on Saturday, after a 41-year-old woman apparently suffered a seizure and died despite efforts to save her.

Santa Monica Mountain trails will stay closed through 5 p.m. Monday due to the excessive heat, according to the city of Malibu.

Crews reported many rescue operations across the region over the Labor Day weekend.

“We just had another remote rescue for a hiker who ran out of water,” the Ventura County Fire Department tweeted Sunday afternoon. “We strongly urge that you limit your outdoor activity Be sure to ask yourself this very important question; What are my capabilities?”

The Fire Department had warned the public against hiking after reporting eight rescues of overheated hikers as of 2 p.m. Saturday.

Before 11 a.m. that day, the Malibu Search and Rescue Team had already responded to two such incidents.

Burbank officials also closed the city’s trails on Saturday. They’ll remain shut down through 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Before the Labor Day Weekend, the Orange County Fire Authority urged hikers to be prepared after reporting a 225% jump in remote-area rescue calls this summer. They suspect the pandemic has prompted more people to go outside.

But as wildfires erupt, OCFA asked the public to be mindful of fire and rescue teams’ limited resources.

Officials offered the following advise for hikers:

• Start drinking water 12 to 24 hours before hiking. “If you think it’s enough, it’s probably not enough. Drink more,” said Deputy Sheriff Drew McMillan, who has worked as a paramedic and as a tactical flight officer.
Bring at least a liter of water per hour of hiking.
• Go early to beat the heat.
• Wear bright clothing in case of a rescue.
• Tell someone of your hiking plans and the time you expect on returning.
• If hiking with others, designate one fully charged cellphone for emergencies only.
• Remember landmarks such as water towers or trail markings.

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