Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley National Park
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Motorcyclist dies from heat exposure in Death Valley National Park

DEATH VALLEY, California – On Saturday, a motorcyclist died after riding through Death Valley National Park in temperatures reaching 128 degrees Fahrenheit.

A group of motorcyclists riding through the park Saturday were treated for severe heat-related illness, two were taken to specialized medical care in Las Vegas, and a third died from heat exposure near Badwater Basin, according to the National Park Service. Four other motorcyclists were treated at the scene and released.

According to the NPS, due to the record high temperature of 128 degrees, rescue helicopters were unable to respond due to the extreme heat. Saturday’s high temperature broke the daily record for Death Valley previously set in 2007.

Once the heat index exceeds 99 degrees, the ambient air provides no relief from the heat and heat-related illnesses can occur.

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“In addition to being unable to cool off while riding due to the high ambient temperatures, riding a motorcycle in Death Valley on such hot days is made more difficult by the need to wear heavy safety equipment to minimize injuries in the event of a crash,” the NPS said.

Death Valley National Park Superintendent Mike Reynolds warns visitors to exercise caution during California’s extreme heat.

“These high temperatures can pose a real health risk,” Reynolds said in a statement. “While this is a very exciting time to experience potentially record-breaking temperatures in Death Valley, we encourage visitors to choose their activities carefully, avoiding long periods of time outside of an air-conditioned vehicle or building when temperatures are this high.”

Heat warnings are in effect for more than 166 million people in the Western United States this week, including parts of Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

Death Valley and the western Mojave Desert remain under a heat warning through Friday night. Daytime temperatures at Furnace Creek in the park are expected to reach 122 to 129 degrees.

Last week, a man died while hiking in Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona due to extreme heat.