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Park Rangers Urge Safe Practices As Heat Wave Bears Down On Colorado

BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – As a heat wave bears down on Colorado, park rangers are urging people to be safe and prepared if they choose to recreate this week.

At Barr Lake State Park, triple digit temperatures weren't enough to scare the visitors away, but by no means was it a pleasant experience Monday.

"(It's) hot. Like, a stagnant hot," said Sarah Crosby.

While Crosby and her friend did their best to tough it out, Daniel Hernandez and his family found ways to cool off in a shaded area of the lake.

"The more you fall in the cooler you get," Hernandez said.

This week, the temperatures will get even hotter while a heat wave affects most of Colorado. For park rangers tasked with keeping visitors safe, the extreme heat brings concerns of dehydration, heat stroke and more.

"You start to get maybe a small headache or a dull headache when you usually might not have one. You can also start to get a little dizzy, a little lightheaded," said park ranger Brian Phillips.

Phillips says preparation is key for those who decide to get outside while temperatures are in the 90s and 100s.

At Barr Lake State Park, the 8 mile walking trail is a popular option for visitors. For anyone planning to make the trek, Phillips urges them to dress in lightweight clothing, find shade or bring an umbrella, and stay hydrated.

"We know that a lot of times people hiking, a lot of times they don't bring enough water," Phillips said.

"Drink more water than you think you need to. They usually say about a quart every hour is what they want."

On the water, the risks can be even higher, especially in the middle of the day, Phillips said. It's also best to avoid consuming alcohol since it contributes to dehydration.

"Not only do you have the normal sun beating down on you, but then the sun's also reflecting off the water, so it's hitting you at different angles as well, so it's kind of like a double dose of sun," Phillips said.

Regardless of the risk, the Hernandez family will be back several times this week. Daniel said the family always brings a cooler of water and knows where to find shade.

"You've got to get out here while you can. You've got to enjoy the heat," he said.

Sarah Crosby said she has other plans.

"This is it for today," She said. "Air conditioner from here on out."

According to Phillips, park rangers will be extra vigilant this week and will have plenty of water and cool towels in their cars in case anyone gets too hot. If you are in distress, get to a shaded area and call 911.

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