Oregon Woman Dies of Heat-Related Causes After Hiking in Phoenix

Jessica Lindstrom was visiting family in Arizona when she went missing on a hike

Jessica Christine Lindstrom, a 34-year-old mother of four from Oregon, was found dead on Friday evening after hiking in the Deem Hills Recreation Area in north Phoenix, Arizona. Authorities said the cause of death appears to be heat-related, as temperatures soared to 116 degrees Fahrenheit (46.6 degrees Celsius) that day.

Oregon Woman Dies
Jessica Christine Lindstrom

Lindstrom, who was a registered nurse in Oregon, was visiting family in Phoenix and went hiking around 8:30 a.m. on Friday. She was reported missing by her family around 5:30 p.m., after she failed to return from her hike.

Phoenix Fire Department officials said they launched a search operation using drones and technical rescue teams, but they were unable to locate Lindstrom until 10:30 p.m., when they found her body on a remote trail on the north side of the recreation area.

Phoenix Fire Department Capt. Scott Douglas said it will be up to the Maricopa County Office of the Medical Examiner to determine the exact cause of death, but preliminary information suggests Lindstrom was overcome by the heat while hiking.

“Unfortunately, Ms. Lindstrom was in town from Oregon, where it doesn’t get this hot,” Douglas said.

Phoenix experiences record-breaking heat wave

Phoenix and its suburbs have been sweltering under an excessive heat warning for several days, with near-record high temperatures expected to reach between 110 degrees F (43.3 C) and 114 F (45.5 C) on Sunday and Monday.

According to the National Weather Service, July was the hottest month in Phoenix on record, with an average temperature of 102.7 F (39.28 C). That topped the previous record of 99.1 F (37.28 C) set in August 2020.

Phoenix also broke several other records during the recent heat spell, such as having 31 consecutive days over 110 F (43.33 C). The previous record was 18 straight days, set in 1974.

The National Weather Service said the extreme heat poses a serious risk to human health and safety, especially for those who are outdoors or lack adequate cooling and hydration.

Heat-associated deaths rise in Maricopa County

Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and is the most populous county in Arizona, reported on Wednesday that 39 heat-associated deaths have been confirmed this year as of July 29, with another 312 deaths under investigation.

At the same time last year, there were 42 confirmed heat-related deaths in the county, with another 282 under investigation.

Maricopa County reported 425 heat-associated deaths in all of 2020, with more than half of them occurring in July.

The county’s public health department said heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, and urged residents and visitors to take precautions to prevent heat-related illnesses and deaths.

Some of the tips include staying indoors during the hottest part of the day, drinking plenty of water, wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, checking on vulnerable people such as children and seniors, and never leaving children or pets in parked cars.

The department also advised people to seek medical attention if they experience symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, such as dizziness, nausea, headache, confusion, or loss of consciousness.

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