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Saguaro National Park uses baked cookies and cooked burgers to warn about extreme heat dangers

"Cookies are fun and all, but heat is no joke" the Saguaro National Park said on its Instagram account.

TUCSON, Ariz. — Park rangers near Tucson recently showed just how hot temperatures can get during Arizona's summer in creative ways.

The Saguaro National Park Instagram account shared a picture on Saturday showing some freshly baked cookies in front of a desert landscape. The twist is that the sweet treats weren't baked in an oven.

"Cookies are fun and all, but heat is no joke" NPS said. "Do not leave children or pets in a parked vehicle."

The rangers freshly baked the cookies in a vehicle using nothing but the sun's rays, according to the park's post. Temperatures can reportedly jump 20 degrees in only 10 minutes inside of cars during the summer heat.

"When temperatures are around 100°F, it doesn’t take too long for the dashboard to get around 180+°F (with a dark dashboard, and locked windows)," the park said. "Leaving a window cracked or open is not enough to stop the quick rise in temperatures."

The park also creatively showed just how hot asphalt can get during southwest summers by doing a unique cookout on Father's Day.

Rangers at the park took a homemade meat substitute patty, as to not waste any animal products, and let it sit on what they called the "good 'ol solar grill" also known as the asphalt to see whether it would cook through or not.

The experiment turned out to be a bit too successful.

"It's definitely hot enough to cook it, but actually it might be too hot," park ranger J. Camp said. "It got way too dry and just crumbled apart on me."

Heat safety tips

Protection from Arizona's extreme heat and UV light is much easier for everyday people than it is for an everyday veggie burger or an everyday cookie, as the park rangers pointed out on their posts. 

Wearing big hats or sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, and wearing proper footwear can all keep you safe and cool and temperatures continue to rise.

"Make sure to be careful when out and about in the area," the park said. "If it can cook a burger, what do you think it will do to feet?!"

The Maricopa County Public Health Department offered other tips about being safe in the heat on its website, including:

  • Avoid drinking liquids with large amounts of sugar, alcohol or caffeine products as they may dehydrate you further.

  • Avoid very cold beverages as they cause stomach cramps.

  • Do not take salt tablets unless directed by your doctor. Heavy sweating removes salt and minerals from the body. These are necessary for your body and must be replaced.

The rangers offered caution on their cookie post as well, this time aimed at vehicle safety during the summer months.

"It doesn't take very long for heat stroke, brain damage, or worse to happen (not to mention it's against AZ law)," the park said.

The health of your vehicle could also deteriorate in hot temperatures. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) says that vehicles should be checked before taking any long drives during the summer.

"You can help avoid breakdowns and blowouts by making sure your vehicle is in good operating condition," ADOT said. 

"Check your air conditioner and coolant levels, top off any vital engine fluids and make sure your battery is up to par. Check your tire pressure, as the combination of under inflated tires and hot pavement can lead to a blowout."

Arizona Weather

Arizona has seen its fair share of severe weather. Here is a compilation of videos from various storms across the Grand Canyon state. See more at our 12 News YouTube channel here.