Correction: The name of the campsite has been corrected.
INDIAHOMA, Okla. (KFOR) – The extreme heat affecting Oklahoma has caused many popular outdoor spots to make changes in order to protect tourists.
When you drive up to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge, the first sign on the side of the road cautions drivers of a hot weather advisory. The refuge has limited hours to hike the mountains, only allowing hiking the trails from sunrise until 10 a.m.
“When you get those temperatures and it’s heating those rocks up, you get really high ground temperatures,” said Quinton Smith, supervisory park ranger at the refuge. “When your ground temperatures are really high and then you have the hot sun baking from the top, it just kind of puts you in that oven.”
The high heat has led to a high number of search and rescues throughout the rocky terrain.
“We’ve had more than a dozen rescues since the spring,” said Smith.
Since the restrictions have been in place, Smith said the refuge has only been called to one rescue. When the park is called to several search and rescues, it significantly stretches its resources.
The refuge still allows fishing, animal watching, biking and camping without restrictions. Many of the campsites have been empty since it has started to heat up. Bob Branum is a campsite host at Camp Doris. He and his family have lived on the campgrounds for the past year. He said it has been quite at the park for the past few months.
“Since Memorial Day weekend, it has really died off here,” said Branum.
Branum said the heat has scared people away and it has even been hard for him to keep cool.
“The heat gets to me after a while,” said Branum. “So, we try to get everything done in the mornings before the heat really gets going strong.”
The refuge said it never likes to issue restrictions but it will continue its hiking time changes until the temperatures drop.