Wildlife Refuge warns tourists about heat related illnesses

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 6:51 PM CDT
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge is advising those who have plans to hike the trails this summer to prepare for excessive heat.

The summer season in the mountains is typically the busiest time of the year for the refuge, and it’s also when they receive the most amount of search and rescue calls. One cause of the calls that are easily avoidable are heat related illnesses.

According to Park Ranger Quinton Smith, water is the most important way to prepare for and stay cooled off for a hike in the heat.

“While you’re out here on the refuge, we recommended that you’re drinking in excess at least a 16oz bottle of water for every hour that you’re out here.” Smith said.

Smith also suggests wearing clothes that are appropriate for the temperatures. Lightly colored, loose-fitting clothes and a hat are the best for the summer heat according to the Park Ranger.

If you happen to find yourself lost on one of the trails this summer, Smith says to take a deep breath, keep a calm mind and to call 911.

“Get in the shade, find a place with shade and take cover. Conserve water, conserve your cellphone battery. Once you do make that 911 call, don’t try to self-rescue.”

The refuge is open from sunrise to sundown, but advises hikers to get their hiking done early on in the day when the temperatures are cooler.