Lakes Ready for Fourth of July Festivities, Despite Blue-Green Algae Advisories
By Caitlin Alexander
Heyburn, Keystone, and Tenkiller Lakes are dealing with Blue-Green Algae advisories. However, park rangers said the risks remain low and they encourage people to celebrate their Fourth of July holiday on the water."We want everyone to come out to the lake and enjoy themselves. Just have a safe weekend, and along with that right now, is awareness of Blue-Green Algae," said Park Ranger Dakota Allison at Heyburn.A routine monthly test revealed an elevated risk for the algae, which led the lakes to post public advisories. Allison said growth can come from hot, stagnant air, among other factors. He said there was a small accumulation of it along a shoreline at Heyburn Lake but has not seen any since.Allison said Saturday's wind and slightly cooler temperature, along with the lake's slightly murky water, discourage a Blue-Green Algae bloom."The weather conditions have improved and helped us out," Allison said.The algae cannot necessarily be treated. Allison said all park rangers can do is urge people to avoid ingesting the substance and lake water in general. He suggested rinsing off after exiting the water. Ingesting Blue-Green Algae can cause blisters, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, difficulty breathing, and other problems.Channel 8 spoke with a mother enjoying the day at Heyburn Lake with her children."As long as it's a mild case, not too worried about it. If it was high, yeah, we wouldn't be here," said Kym Exendine.If you experience the symptoms listed above, the US Army Corps of Engineers and State Parks encourage you to call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222.Allison said if you spot Blue-Green Algae or anything else that is concerning, to please visit park offices.Travel OK enables you to check current lake conditions. It also lists phone numbers.The Oklahoma State Department of Health reports you may contact the DEQ Complaint Hotline at 1-800-522-0206 for questions regarding Blue-Green Algae blooms.
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