First responders from the Placer County Sheriff’s Office, CAL FIRE/Placer County Fire Department and California State Parks held a demonstration of the power of the river and the challenges of river rescues at the American River confluence today in Auburn. “16-24 year-old males, I’m talking to you. You’re the ones drowning in these rivers at a far higher rate than anyone else.” Auburn State Recreation Area Sector Superintendent Mike Howard stated flatly.
Last week, one confirmed fatality and a still-missing person became casualties of the very high and cold flows of the American River in Placer County.
According to a Placer County news release, record-breaking snowfall over the winter is causing very fast and cold flows in area rivers that are expected to last much longer into the summer than we’ve seen in years. Downed trees and other woody debris caused by destructive winter storms have washed into waterways creating even more hazards. 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.
Placer public safety partners have launched the BeRiverWise.org campaign to help residents and visitors better understand the risk and stay safe.
The upcoming holiday weekend will see full staffing of all Placer County and CAL FIRE resources 24/7 – it is up to river visitors to make their shifts as uneventful as possible. Stay out, stay alive.