Why warmer weather brings its own dangers on the Valley's waterways

As the Sierra snowpack melts, authorities will be keeping a close eye on high water conditions in the foothills and mountains.

The warmer weather will also have people heading to their favorite waterways to cool off and first responders are stressing the importance of water safety.

"Snow melt is making runoff a little higher, little faster - bringing water down faster to the several recreational areas along the forest, Bass Lake, Shaver and Huntington Lake areas," says Sierra National Forest PIO Alex Olow.

Olow says looks can be deceiving when it comes to the water.

"When you're looking at that stream and it looks like it's moving slowly, sometimes the current underneath is moving swifter than what it is on top."

Like many people looking to beat the heat, Aaron Woodward from Oakhurst spent the day at Miller's Landing.

He says their safety precautions, including a video prior to launch, are especially helpful when summer's in full swing.

"It gets nerve wracking. When the lake gets really full you gotta be careful with towing kids and really pay attention to what's going on in the water."

Madera County sheriff's deputies are already patrolling Bass lake - cracking down on drinking while boating, along with enforcing safty violations.

Search and rescue teams have been preparing for what's expected to be a busy summer, but they're hoping it doesn't get to that.

"There is a lot more water this year. If you're not a good swimmer, wear a life jacket, follow the rules and be safe with other people," says Michelle Miller of Miller's Landing.

The forest service went on to say that this is an important time to remember the tree mortality in the area. Your drive may look a little different because of downed trees. They're asking you to use extra caution when heading to your destination.
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