By Karen Brainard
The holiday weekend brought out hikers who were unprepared for the heat and the distance of the Cedar Creek Falls trail near San Diego Country Estates, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
Brian Harris, public affairs officer for the forest service, said six helicopter rescues were conducted on Saturday, July 2, for people suffering from dehydration. The rescues were made for people hiking in or out of the trail during the heat of the day, he said. Of those rescues, no one was transported to the hospital, he said.
The helicopter is provided by the San Diego Sheriff’s Department in combination with CalFire.
Capt. Mike Mohler of CalFire said eight people were rescued by air from the trail from Friday through Monday.
Ramona Fire Department Station 81 also reported responding to heat-related injuries at the trailhead. The fire department personnel wait at the trailhead to provide medical aid when calls come. The department also provides medical resources after the helicopter rescues hikers and lands near Station 81 off San Vicente Road in San Diego Country Estates.
In addition to the rescues, Harris said citations were issued for use of illegal substances. Harris said law enforcement at and along the trail was beefed up during the weekend, and the volunteer mounted patrol rode up and down the trail. About 5 percent of those hiking appeared to be there to party, Harris said.
The other 95 percent mainly consisted of families, some with infants or toddlers.
Harris said that the approximate five-mile round-trip trail is not suitable for young children, and hikers need to be equipped with plenty of water. No drinking water is available at the site.
Harris also cautioned that the water level of the pool at the falls is dropping rapidly and will drop to 4 to 8 feet. Jumping and diving into the pool is banned.