Heat-related incidents have increased in Texas state parks

Authorities rescued 40 hikers at Palo Duro State Park due to heat on Saturday, June 11.

Martina Birnbaum / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Authorities are warning hikers and nature lovers to stay safe and hydrated after Texas State Parks experienced an increase in heat-related incidents compared to last year. In 2021, 43 state parks reported 102 heat-related illnesses in humans and pets, according to a department news release on Tuesday, June 28.

Since Jan. 1, 54 heat-related incidents have already been reported, up from 34 reported this time last year, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reported. On June 11, authorities rescued 40 hikers at Palo Duro State Park due to excessive heat. The Canyon Fire Department responded to these incidents at Palo Duro State Park.

As temperatures soar into triple digits, TPWD shares its suggestions for staying safe outdoors. Below are the best thermal hacks in the department:

  • Hydrate: It is important to drink at least 16 ounces of water per hour in the heat to replenish your body and prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to bring enough for your four-legged family members.
  • Block the rays: Apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunscreen before going outdoors. Be sure to reapply every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
  • Dress smart: Wear light, loose and breathable clothing; a hat, decent shoes, sunscreen and wet bandanas to keep you cool when out in the sun.
  • Stay salty: Food helps conserve energy and replace salt lost through sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, tuna and dried fruit is a fantastic way to fuel your body on the trails.
  • Buddy System: Two brains are better than one. It pays to have someone with you in warm conditions so you can take care of each other on the trail. With the high temperatures hitting Texas, heat-related illnesses are common, and having a friend to help you recognize early symptoms can save you from getting sick.
  • Plan ahead: Study the map and have it with you, avoid relying on your phone for maps as service may not be available in outback areas. Average hikers travel at 2 miles per hour, so allow plenty of time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Be sure to rest in a cool or shady place to recover heat if needed. It’s also a good idea to let someone know your plan before you hit the trails and when you should be back. That way, if you get lost, people will know where to look.

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