Officials say July is busiest month on record for search and rescue in King County

King County Search and Rescue officials say July is the busiest month on record for rescues.

Officials say they’ve seen 54 rescues in the last three weeks, and the summer hiking season is just kicking off.

“The entire system is taxed and overwhelmed right now,” said Jen Brenes.

Brenes is the president of King County Search and Rescue.

She says people are packing into parks and trails, pushing them to capacity. COVID-19 is a big reason for the increase in numbers.

“There’s no movie theaters; there’s no restaurants; there’s no places for people to go to recreate. It’s pushing them to outdoor recreation,” she said.

She says because of this there are more inexperienced hikers on trails, which leads to more rescues.

Brenes says this is creating issues for the volunteer-run and donation-funded King County Search and Rescue team who constantly works to bring people safely back home from dangerous situations.

“It means they {hikers} shouldn’t be counting on us. Because it’s a possibility that our response times are going to be slower. It’s a possibility that we can’t provide the depth of resources on any one call because we’re spread thin,” she said.

Brenes says if you plan on going hiking, make sure you’re prepared and always tell someone your plan.

For more tips on staying safe on the trails click here.

For more information on King County Search and Rescue click here.