Continued drought taking toll on wildlife refuge

INDIAHOMA, OK (KSWO) – Most of southwest Oklahoma is now under severe or extreme drought conditions.
"Right now our fire danger is very high, not to the extreme level yet, but we are trending in that direction.
Because of that danger, there are a few new restrictions in place for those visiting the refuge.
"We’ve restricted activities such that open burning and campfires are no longer allowed and we’ll keep those in place for the duration of the burn ban or until we see a significant change in the weather pattern.
Right now, there’s really no such thing as an overabundance of caution, you can’t be too careful," Phillips said.
When you couple the dry grass with the high winds we see in Oklahoma, Phillips said a fire can quickly get out of control, endangering all of the wildlife on the refuge.
"I feel safe in referring to the fire growth potential as explosive,” Phillips said.
We don’t have the luxury of just allowing them to wander out onto neighboring properties.
The vegetation will dry out, it won’t grow as readily which reduces the amount of food for the animals we’re here to protect," Phillips said.
Phillips said so far, they haven’t seen too many fires on the refuge and he hopes it stays that way.

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