Rescue calls increase at Palo Duro Canyon State Park as weather heats up

Rescue calls increase at Palo Duro Canyon State Park as weather heats up
Lightouse Palo Duro Canyon is a Hoodoo rock formation (Source: Gray tv - KFDA)

CANYON, Texas (KFDA) - We are now entering the hottest time of the year, and residents need to be cautious when out at Palo Duro Canyon State Park.

“Well this is definitely the period of the year that the sun is its most intense," said Chief Meteorologist Doppler Dave Oliver. "We’re only a couple of weeks away from the Summer solstice, which is when the sun has its strongest angle, and we get a lot more radiation, and you think of July and August as being the dog days of Summer time, but we’ve actually had some of the hottest temperatures of the year in history in the month of June.”

According to the Randall County Fire Department, their rescue team is seeing an increase in call volume for situations like heat exhaustion and injury while visiting the state park.

“Already we’re probably averaging, I would have to say, between one to two calls a week, you know, a lot of exhaustion, a lot of heat strokes, things of that matter," said Lieutenant Josh Craft. "Lighthouse Trails is going to be one of the hottest trails in the canyon, and it’s also going to be one of the ones most people think they can do, and sometimes people just don’t take enough water.”

Lt. Craft also says COVID-19 is impacting their rescue call volume as the park is seeing a huge increase in new and returning visitors.

“With places shut down, and the park staying open, we’ll get a lot more visitors, and as COVID goes on, we foresee a lot more people going out to the park, and getting lost or getting dehydrated, and needing help," said Lt. Craft.

He says it’s imperative for residents to bring more water than they would need for a regular workout, as heat exhaustion and dehydration can creep up quickly at the canyon. If you’re planning to bring your pet, keep their safety in mind as well, as they receive a lot of calls regarding pet dehydration.

“If you’re going to take your pets out there, be sure that they have enough water, or you’re really thinking what you’re going to be doing if the pet is going to be with you," said Lt. Craft. "You don’t want to get three miles in on the trail, and your dog or other animals, they can get sick, they’re just like humans, they get sick, and before you know it, it’s too late to see their symptoms or signs, so I just want to remind everyone to be conscience of your pets.”

Randall County Fire Department also encourages park visitors to be on the lookout for other guests who appear to be suffering hear exhaustion or injury, as they rely heavily on reports from other guests for rescues.

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