Local lakes looking full, Fresno County Sheriff's Office stressing water safety

Ana Torrea Image
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Local lakes looking full, Fresno County Sheriff's Office stressing water safety
The lakes and rivers in Central California are open for people to enjoy.

FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- The lakes and rivers in Central California are open for people to enjoy.

While the water looks refreshing and calm on the surface, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said it's actually pretty cold and there can be debris that people might not be able to see.

"In all those water ways you have that same hazards," said Tony Botti with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

"There's different plant life down on the bottom. There's mud that your feet can get stuck to. There's different levels, so you could be walking and a short distance later it drops off."

On Friday, families were cooling off at Millerton Lake.

Jessi Fox spent the day out by the water with her kids. While they knew how to swim, she took extra steps to make sure they were safe.

"They can kind of just relax in the water and float, all the way around," said Fox.

"It was a just a better experience with life jackets."

The life jackets gave Jessi peace of mind.

Allie Noble's daughter also wore a life jacket, but wanted her to be a strong swimmer.

"It really eases your mind," said Noble.

"You always need to be around but you can at least do something. Get the food together and stuff; know that she can save herself."

Some lakes, like Pine Flat, are full.

The lake levels are so high, that it submerged this sign and building.

A warning is posted at the launch dock telling people to be aware of the rising water.

The water being released from Pine Flat Dam is also causing the Kings River to move swiftly and fast.

"Invest in a good quality raft or tube that won't pop if it hits something" said Botti.

"Make sure you're keeping your eyes downstream for any obstacles."

The Kings River Water Association says, the Pine Flat Reservoir reached its seasonal peak at 99% on Tuesday.

The organization adds Pine Flat Dam is expected to release more water this month and in July, with it slowly starting to taper off by August.

Numbers from the Sheriff's Office show in 2021, there were four drownings in Fresno County.

In 2022 there were 13. Last year, there were a total of 16. This year so far, there have been four drownings within the county.

Including 16-year-old Alejandro Araujo, who drowned while out on a pontoon boat at Shaver Lake on Sunday afternoon.

In an interview with Univision 21, Alejandro's grandmother expressed how much she misses her grandson.

"Unfortunately it hurts my heart," said his grandmother.

"He did not get to say goodbye to me. If he would have said good bye, what I can say? It hurts me a lot. He would always ask me for my blessing but that day he did not."

With high lake levels and the recent drownings, families are taking extra precautions.

"If you're coming out to the lake and you don't know how to swim, stay right here where you can't drown and wear a life vest," said Noble.

The sheriff's office says to make sure that there are other people with you and to always keep an eye out for each other when you're at the lakes or rivers.

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