river

Recreational activity in the river is being prohibited and violators face a minimum fine of $225

With school out and another hot weekend coming up, just a reminder that the Kings River from Pine Flat Dam to the Tulare and Kings County lines remains closed.  The Fresno County sheriff's office put that order in place on June 4.  This closure is permitted under the authority of Penal Code 409.5(a) and Fresno County Ordinance 13.32.080. 

On June 4, Pine Flat Dam was taking in water at a rate of approximately 10,000 cubic feet per second (cfs) and the dam was pushing out approximately 10,000 cfs into the Kings River.

According to numbers on June 14 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we now see water coming in at approximately 16,000 cfs (120,000 gallons) and going out at a rate between 10,000 and 11,000 cfs (75,000 – 82,500 gallons).

It is important for the public to understand that access to the river is denied until further notice.  This includes all recreational activity such as: boating, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, floating, etc.  

During the closure, the Sheriff’s Boating Enforcement Unit will continue to patrol the Kings River.  Deputies will strictly enforce this closure and violators will be subject to citations.  This infraction comes with a minimum fine of $225. 

The Kings River water temperature is currently registering between 50°- 52°.  Exposure to the cold water can cause hypothermia, which can quickly lead to exhaustion or unconsciousness.  

Increased water releases can result in numerous public safety hazards and areas of serious concern for floaters and swimmers.  

Riverbanks can erode and lead to many more trees falling into the river.  Downed trees create strainers, which is where turbulent water flows through the tree.  A person caught in a strainer can quickly find themselves pinned against the tree or even swept underneath it.  It is extremely difficult to rescue yourself from a strainer and typically requires emergency help from trained rescue personnel.

As you recreate in all natural waterways this summer, the sheriff’s office would like to remind you to be safe while doing your activities.

Take simple precautions such as wearing a life jacket, staying out of the water if you’re not an experienced swimmer and not mixing alcohol and swimming.  

Alcohol causes swimmers to fatigue faster than normal and can create dangerous situations.  

Also, please keep an eye on your children at all times.  In less than a minute, they can slip into the water and be put at risk of injury or drowning.

The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office will be reassessing water levels and river conditions throughout the summer.  Once deemed safe, access to the river will be reopened to the public.  The Sheriff’s Office will notify the community online and via the media.

The public can check the hourly flows from Pine Flat Dam by visiting http://www.spk-wc.usace.army.mil/fcgi-bin/hourly.py?report=pnf

Sheriff Mims last exercised Ordinance 13.32.080 in 2017, closing the Kings River from May 24th to July 17. 

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