Memorial Day weekend likely to keep first responders busy

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Fire Department has already responded to a water rescue this Memorial Day weekend, saving fishermen on the San Joaquin River who had capsized their boat. It's an early start to a likely busy weekend for first responders.

"It's always the same m/o. Somebody gets drunk, goes into the water and gets in a situation that they weren't prepared for," said Fresno Fire Department spokesman Koby Johns.

He says every year they pull someone out of the river who has drowned.

"It starts off really shallow and then it drops really quickly, and that's just a small part but that's enough to sweep you off your feet," said Johns.

According to Johns, a majority of drownings occur when a bunch of people are around at pool parties -- not keeping a close eye on the kids. He says in the summer, Children's Hospital Central California handles roughly four to five drownings a week.

"It's just incredibly sad for us to be there for that to begin with. Everybody there just ends up feeling a tremendous amount of guilt because nobody was watching," said Johns.

While firefighters keep tabs on water safety, Sierra National Forest crews are preparing for a wave of campers and potential wave of fires.

"We are fully staffed right now in the last few months to make sure they are prepared to face the conditions, and all our stations are fully manned at this point," said Sierra National Forest Supervisor Dean Gould.

On Thursday, there were nearly 2,000 lightning strikes in Central California. Gould says there were a few small fires from the lightning strikes but that's typical this time of year. Right now there aren't any fire restrictions in the campgrounds at the Sierra National Forest but that could change depending on the weather.

And some good news this weekend for the Sierra National Forest. The Dorabelle Campground at Shaver Lake is having its grand reopening.

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