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Grand Canyon hiker dies on trail during extreme heat

The 53-year-old backpacker was found dead in the Grand Canyon on Sunday, when the high reached 115 degrees.

An Ohio backpacker was found dead in the Grand Canyon on Sunday, a day that saw a high temperature of 115 degrees.

The death of Michelle Meder, 53, of Hudson, Ohio, was likely heat-related, the National Park Service said Monday.

The park received a call Sunday around 1:15 p.m. about a hiker experiencing heat illness on the Tonto Trail near Monument Creek, and responding rangers determined she was dead, the park service said. She had been hiking down the Hermit Trail on Saturday.

She was hiking from that trail to the Bright Angel Trail on a multi-day trip, the park service said.

The investigation into Meder's death was ongoing Monday, and included the Coconino County medical examiner's office, the park service said.

The high at Phantom Ranch, which is at the bottom of the canyon, was 115 degrees on Sunday, and the area was under excessive heat warnings Monday.

Temperatures on exposed parts of the trail can reach 120 degrees in the shade in the summer, the park service warned. It said people should not hike the inner canyon between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Large parts of the West have been sweltering through excessive heat in one of the worst June heatwaves in decades.

The record-breaking heat was ending across California and the Southwest on Monday, the National Weather Service said. But red flag warnings, which are when there are conditions that could lead to large wildfires, covered most of Utah, parts of southern Nevada and parts of Arizona on Monday.