Fresno County deputies continue to patrol closed Kings River

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- As of Thursday, the Kings River remains closed in Fresno and Tulare Counties, despite the Kings County portion reopening earlier this week.

It's not just signs keeping people out, law enforcement continues to patrol the river

The Fresno County Sheriff's Office says they will not make the decision to reopen the river lightly, and once they open it, they plan to keep it open for the rest of the summer.

Luckily for Deputy Alex Nikolich, people are generally staying out of the water during the closure.

The penalty for going in is a $225 citation.

"Usually I like to educate them and say 'Hey the river is in fact still closed, you can't be here, this is the repercussion for being on the river,' Nikolich said. "If they don't learn from just being informed, then we'll take the enforcement action."

Launching from Cricket Hollow Park in Reedley, Nikolich and his partner spent part of their Fourth of July patrolling a section of the river that's popular for floating.

No floaters were found, but there was one disgruntled resident with something to say about the closure's impact on businesses in the area.

"It's closed for a reason," Nikolich said. "We're trying to keep people safe. I realize that there's a lot of very experienced people who are probably upset that it's closed but I mean it's not for them. It's for the inexperienced people who would get themselves placed in potentially fatal situations when otherwise they could have been kept safe and just followed the rules."

Water levels have gone down in recent days, so the river's dangers can be deceiving.

"I mean this river doesn't look like it's going very fast, but there's a lot more force than meets the eye," Nikolich said. "So that can give people kind of a false sense of security when they want to go swimming in here."

When the river reopens, Nikolich is ready to help anyone in trouble.

But you can help him too-by not going in if you're intoxicated, or don't know how to swim.

The last time the Kings River was closed in Fresno County for the Fourth of July was in 2017.
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