2 hikers rescued by helicopter hours after trail closure announced

RAMONA, Calif. – Emergency personnel rescued a pair of hikers on a trail near Ramona hours after officials announced the closure of two popular trails due to health and safety concerns from high temperatures.

The hikers called 911 around 1:50 p.m. Monday to request emergency help on the El Cajon Mountain Truck Trail south of the San Diego Country Estate, Cal Fire Capt. Issac Sanchez said.

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A sheriff’s helicopter found the hikers, then requested another helicopter capable of hoisting them out, Sanchez said.

Around 3:15 p.m., the hikers were airlifted to a ground ambulance for evaluation, according to a Cal Fire tweet.

The agency tweeted shortly before 5 p.m. that both hikers were evaluated by medics and released.

U.S. Forest Service officials announced the closures of the nearby Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Falls trails Monday morning. The trails are expected to remain closed through Thursday, when an excessive heat warning issued by the National Weather Service ends.

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“The road and trail system leading to both Three Sisters and Cedar Creek Falls are very challenging under normal conditions, but with extreme heat, the area becomes dangerous,” Forest Service officials said in a statement.

High temperatures in Ramona Monday reached 102 degrees, matching the previous record high set in 2006, according to the National Weather Service.

Authorities typically implement emergency closures when temperatures are expected to exceed 95 degrees.

Heat stroke results in several fatalities per year in those areas, according to the Fire Service, and hundreds of people require medical aid or air rescue annually.

Officials will reassess the trails Friday to determine if they are safe for recreation.