Local

Recent Valley storms make for fast moving rivers

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rivers and lakes around the Central Valley have filled up quickly with the recent spring storms. The San Joaquin River has overflowed its banks recently.

It happened near the Wildwood Mobile Home Park near Highway 41 in Madera County.

This is the perfect backyard for the people who live in this area but if you look at how fast the water is flowing on the surface. Well it's moving a lot quicker underneath and rescuers say this fast and cold water is extremely dangerous.

"It's just kinda cool 'cause it's in our backyards, we can just walk down here and swim."

Skigh Arney and her friends love playing along the river's edge, "it's pretty cold, my legs started to get numb."

The teens say it's a great way to pass the time or beat the heat in the summer.

"We know the river really well and certain areas, we know which is deeper and we usually try avoiding those," Elijah Grady said.

But these kids admit to, like so many others, not using life jackets and other safety precautions. Which Fresno Fire Captain Charles Leach tells me is not the best idea.

"We don't want to tell people that they can't use the river, but life jackets are very important."

Capt. Leach is just one of several trained water rescuers who work with the Fresno Fire Department. The crew, he says, is prepared for rescues in these rushing waters.

This time of year the Fire Deparmtent prepares its rescue equipment including several boats and scuba gear.

"When the weather warms up, all of the sudden people think now is the time to get into the river and they sometimes get a little bit careless."

That's what Capt. Leach hopes to avoid by making sure everyone, especially people living along Valley rivers, know to be careful in the water.

"They need to be understand of what they're dealing with, it's nature, it's unforgiving."

And like the teens we just saw, it's best to go into the water in an area you're familiar with.

The fire department says common sense is the best safety precaution around quick moving water and levels are expected to rise as temps warm up and the mountain snow melts.

(Copyright ©2014 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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Tags:
storm, madera county, fresno county, safety, local
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