Kings River water levels return to a reasonable level

FRESNO, Calif.

Well the sandbags that are here really aren't needed anymore after the water levels along the Kings River have dropped significantly in the past few days. But Action News can tell you the soil around the area is still saturated and muddy but it's not enough to keep county officials from allowing people back into the river.

Boats and jet skis are once again docked along the Kings River banks at the River Land RV Park in Kingsburg. Residents who live here described to us just how much water there was a week ago.

"If you take the camera and you see that wall over there. Turn it that way. The water was up six inches on that wall right there. Dude it was like very difficult." said Gus Chavez.

Tulare County officials determined Tuesday that the water coming from the Pine-Flat Dam was no longer a danger to those wishing to go boating, swimming or fishing in the river.

"The flow is this area have dropped below 4,000 CFS and so it was deemed that we could open the river again for recreation." said Tulare County Parks & Rec Manager Neil Pilegard.

A few miles upstream at the Club Royal Oak RV Resort, Jimmie McDonald and his buddy spent the day in river Tuesday. He says it was a hassle having to go elsewhere to ride his jet skis.

"You know it's pretty frustrating to have to live here and be so close to the river, then have to go up to the lake every weekend or something you know. It's pretty frustrating especially when you spend a lot of money you know season passes for stuff out here and the river is closed for weeks and weeks." said McDonald.

We found plenty of people who took advantage of the Kings River after it reopened. But sheriff's deputies caution new and even experienced river enthusiasts to be extra careful in the water.

"Things changed because the water levels were so high. The sandbars moved and a lot of things have changed and even though they've been out here before, they need to understand that it is different now because of that." said Sgt. Chris Douglass.

Kings County officials announced Tuesday the entire Kings River in that area will be reopen for swimming and boating starting Friday afternoon. And a limited portion of the Kings River is also now open to recreational use in Fresno County.

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