This last week has been a scorcher. All of the Southwest has been under an excessive heat warning for the last week and in Sedona, temperatures have topped at least 105 degrees since Sunday, June 18.

Local agencies have issued warnings to stay cool and hydrated and find shelter in case their homes don’t have a working air conditioner or swamp cooler.

We got a notification yesterday from APS that 94 residents in the Prescott area lost power due to a blown transformer and were offered cooler shelter by the American Red Cross while workers hurried to repair the power lines.

I was living in the Phoenix area the day it hit a record 122 degrees and must say I didn’t notice the difference between 110 and 122 degrees — they both feel equally awful.

Over one summer when I was attending Arizona State University, a local business in Tempe made light of the heat by hosting a eggcooking contest using the hoods of contestants’ cars.

While those of us with decades of Arizona blood in our veins are used to coping with excessive ambient heat that can melt the rubber on tennis shoes, many new residents, especially from cooler climes, are not.

Avoiding the heat and staying hydrated is key.

Yesterday, I spoke with a new Uptown Community Service Aide, aka one of the “Yellow Shirts,” who, along with a local business owner had assisted a tourist suffering chest pains and likely prevented him from suffering a heat stroke.

New residents who may not be used to drinking a lot of water daily need to be reminded to do so now that they live in the Arizona desert.

Tourists and visitors especially need to be warned of the dangers of hiking without sufficient water. All too often I have seen tourists on trails with 8-ounce water bottles which is woefully insufficient.

It is urban legend that it’s against the law in Arizona to not offer water to people, but you would be hard-pressed to find any business that would not provide water to a passerby who asked for a drink, especially in summer.

It is also important to find ways to stay cool.

Sports reporter Daniel Hargis has been writing a summer series on the best swimming holes in the Verde Valley. He and photojournalists Jordan Reece and Hunt Mercier have hit a number of them over the last few weeks, often with Hargis, a champion water polo player, getting in the water or jumping into it from cliffs. I assure you he does this entirely for your benefit, dear readers.

All of these stories are archived on our website in case you’re looking for a new place to swim.

Temperatures are expected to drop in the next week and the summer monsoon should begin soon, with the skies offering respite from the heat. Until then, please stay cool, hydrated and safe.