FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Sunshine and warmer weather have returned to the valley, but Fresno County is reminding people to stay away from flood-swollen rivers.
Both the Kings and the San Joaquin rivers are closed because of dangerous conditions.
“A lot of people who want to sit on the edge of the water don’t realize how swift it can actually be and they can get taken under every year by inexperienced swimmers who stand on the edge of the water, fall in and they drown,” said Anthony Gomez with The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office.
The San Joaquin and Kings rivers are high and moving fast as Friant and Pine flat dams continue to release water to make room for melting snow.
“They’re having to release water from the dams on a regular basis and that fluctuates throughout the day so what looks like being calm right now could actually be a lot faster moving water,” Gomez continued.
Because of the dangers the San Joaquin and Kings Rivers were closed on March 14th.
Justin Simmons with the Fresno Fire Water Rescue Team says the swift current isn’t the only concern.
“It’s very cold it’s in the low 50s so even as the temperatures outside get warmer as we get into spring and summer the water temperatures are going to be significantly colder,” said Simmons.
The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office says those who ignore the closures will be cited for trespassing.
“It’s a citation, it’s a $250 fine, it’s a criminal offense and it’s something that we are going to take seriously,” said Gomez.
On Sunday several white-water rafters were spotted on the San Joaquin River near Millerton Dam by the Fresno County Sheriff’s Offices Eagle One Helicopter.
Each person was given a ticket. The sheriff’s office says they don’t expect the water to go down any time soon so they’re asking for everyone to please be patient.
“We’re expecting the closures to last through June probably to July even the amount of snow up there is over 200 percent of normal so it’s going to continue all the way through the summer months,” Gomez says.