Franklin County Sheriff Anthony Boen said heavy rains caused the Mulberry River to rise. Parts of the River Valley saw between one and three inches of rain during the recent storm, and the Mulberry River rose to almost 13 feet.
Eric Savage was camping with more than 80 Boy Scouts over the weekend when the Game and Fish evacuated the Redding Campgrounds. Savage said the group of mostly 11-18 year old boys and their leaders from northwest Oklahoma had to pack up their gear and relocate to another campsite away from the threat of the river.
Savage said a group of about ten scouts got stuck between two creeks which had risen, forcing the group to stay put and battle the elements in the forest Sunday night.
“The group that we still have out there, they assured us they still had dry tents, dry sleeping bags and a fire so we knew they were in good shape,” said Savage. He added the group planned to cut their trip a day short and head back to Oklahoma Monday afternoon (March 17) once the troop was reunited.
Fred Mullen, Emergency Manager for Franklin County, said a few hikers on the Ozark Highlands Trail had to abandon their hiking plans when they weren’t prepared for the heavy rainfall.
Flooding is common in Franklin County, according to Mullen. He said the Mulberry River rises quickly when it rains but stabilizes quickly when the rain stops.