Season brings elevated risk

Auburn, Calif. – The snowmelt in the mountains of Placer County is a critical source of water for the surrounding rivers and streams, but it can also pose significant danger in the spring and summer months.

As the snowpack melts, it can cause the rivers to swell and flood, leading to potential dangers for people and property in low-lying areas.ย 

↬ Summer Fun Starts Here ↫

⤥ Summer Fun Starts Here ⤦

⤥ Summer Fun Starts Here ⤦

⤥ Summer Fun Starts Here ⤦

Consider the following

  • The fast-moving and frigid water can be a hazard for recreational activities like swimming and rafting. It’s important for people to be aware of the potential dangers associated with snowmelt and to take appropriate precautions when enjoying the waterways. Unless you are a well-trained and experienced rafter or kayaker, floating the river with a local rafting company is the safest choice.ย 
  • Hypothermia can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, causing confusion, shivering, loss of coordination and muscle control, and even coma or cardiac arrest. Even experienced swimmers can quickly become overwhelmed and drown even in calmer water.
  • Traditional recreational spots may not be safe to visit at times this season due to the dangers associated with snowmelt, including higher river levels, fast-moving water and other hazards.
  • The fluctuation of dam-controlled water levels can create further danger downstream, as sudden releases of water can result in quickly rising water and other hazards.

First responders from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE/Placer County Fire Department and California State Parks regularly hold demonstrations of the power of the river and the challenges of river rescues at the American River confluence in Auburn.

Respect the rivers

Be River Wise

Snowfall over the winter is causing fast and cold flows in area rivers that are expected to last into the summer months. Downed trees and other woody debris caused by destructive winter storms have washed into waterways creating even more hazards. And variable flows caused by intermittent dam releases, particularly on the Middle Fork American River, can cause river levels to rise quickly and unexpectedly, increasing the danger.โ€ฏ โ€ฏ

Placer public safety partners have launched the BeRiverWise.org campaign to help residents and visitors better understand the risk and stay safe.โ€ฏ

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