After hikers found, Madera County sheriff warns about being prepared

The Fresno BeeNovember 15, 2013 

A Fresno County sheriff's helicopter camera shows two men, left center, who had become lost near Fresno Dome in Madera County.

FRESNO COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

Two hikers lost in the Sierra Nevada this week provided a cautionary tale about striking out into the wilderness with proper supplies.

The men became lost Tuesday during a day hike when night fell and they could not find the way back to their vehicle, said Erica Stuart, spokewoman for the Madera County Sheriff's Department.

The men used a phone to report that they were lost at or near Fresno Dome, which is at 7,540 feet.

The men were not carrying water or warm clothing. With temperatures dropping to near freezing, searchers continued to look for the men on foot in total darkness. A Fresno County Sheriff's Office helicopter arrived to assist search crews by lighting their way to the men, who had started a fire. They were rescued about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

According to Stuart, Madera County Sheriff John Anderson said hikers should bring warm clothing, water and a communication device. He also recommended knowing how to build a fire or shelter, to carry a compass and to agree on vocal signals like whistling to communicate with others.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6386 or cgeorge@fresnobee.com.

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