Kyburz fire fully contained at 75 acres

The Kyburz fire was reported fully contained Wednesday after burning through 75 acres of timber and steep canyon areas off Highway 50 in El Dorado County.

The fire was reported around 2 p.m. July 23 in the south fork of the American River canyon, west of the community of Kyburz. It burned east of Whitehall on both sides of Highway 50, prompting evacuations and closure of Highway 50. One lane of the highway reopened Friday evening. All lanes were open on Saturday.

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Folsom and EDH Fire Stations offer free life jacket rentals

After the drowning of a 23-year-old man last week in the Lake Natoma, local first responders are reminding people to stay safe and act responsibly in local waterways.

The California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW) and Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) are warning water enthusiasts not to become complacent because of the drought, and to take serious precautions when in or near water this summer.

DBW officials said water is still flowing and even low reservoirs and lakes still have enough water for recreation. Previously deep hazards may be closer to the surface and can create treacherous conditions for all recreationists including waders, swimmers, paddlers, boaters, anglers and even hikers cooling off at the water’s edge.

“We ask those enjoying the outdoors to be careful near mountain streams, rivers and reservoirs. Water flows can fluctuate so always be prepared for a change in conditions,” said Randy Livingston, vice president of Power Generation for PG&E.

Since conditions change quickly in open water and even the best swimmers can misjudge the water and their skills when boating or swimming, DBW officials said wearing a properly-fitted life jacket can help keep people safe.

El Dorado Hills Fire Department Division Chief/Fire Marshal Michael Lilienthal, said the department received a grant from the Life Jacket Loaner Program sponsored by the U.S. and California Boats and Waterways Association which loans flotation devices to local boaters.

“The process is simple, (people need to) provide a California driver’s license and the approximate weight of the person needing the life jacket and complete a form,” Lilienthal said. “Jackets can be borrowed for up to three days. While this is the peak season for usage, the program is available year round.”

A life jacket can also provide some thermal protection against the onset of hypothermia and keep a person afloat until someone else can rescue him or her.

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Drowning victim’s body found in Lake Natoma

State park workers recovered the body Tuesday morning of a 23-year-old man who drowned last week at Lake Natoma after jumping into the water with friends, officials said.

The man was identified as Paul Liu of Sacramento, according to the Sacramento County Coroner’s Office.

The workers recovered the body at 9 a.m. between the launch ramp and swim beach at Negro Bar, said Richard Preston, superintendent for the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area.

On Thursday, California State Parks workers received a report at about 4 p.m. that four people had jumped from rocks intending to swim to a partially submerged rock in the middle of the lake, between Rainbow Bridge and Lake Natoma Crossing, Preston said. Liu went underwater, and his friends unsuccessfully tried to rescue him.

Two of Liu’s friends were rescued by kayakers, and one made it to shore on his own.

Hours after park workers recovered Liu’s body, rescue crews pulled another body out of the American River downstream near Sutter’s Landing in midtown Sacramento.

That man appeared to be in his 20s or 30s, said Sacramento Fire Department spokesman Chris Harvey. He said identifying the man will be difficult because the body had been in the water for several days.

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Safety changes coming after Discovery Park-area drownings

Sacramento County officials said Monday they are planning changes at Tiscornia Beach after four people died off its shoreline so far in July.

County Supervisor Phil Serna said he’s asked the county parks department to install signs down by the water’s edge as early as next weekend.

“It’s going to be some very blunt language, strong language, that really attempts to impress upon folks that visit our parkways about the risk associated with entering the waterway,” Serna said.

For Joe Thomas, whose uncle drowned in the Sacramento River Sunday, the changes are coming too late.

Thomas came back to the accident site Monday, expecting to find searchers still looking for the 24-year-old drowning victim. Instead, he found people back in the water at the exact same spot.

“I kind of was taking it like it wasn’t really too much of a concern,” Thomas said. “I don’t see any type of sign up saying beware of this area, it’s dangerous, or anything.”

Thomas said his uncle, who is still missing and has not been identified by authorities, came to the beach Sunday for a family gathering.

About 1 p.m., the river pulled him under and he never resurfaced.

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Crews search for body of drowning victim, 24, near Discovery Park

Rescue crews are searching for the body a 24-year-old man who is believed to have drowned near Tiscornia Park in Sacramento, the fourth victim this month in the are.

A witness told KCRA 3 that the man had fallen into the water along the Sacramento and American river confluence as he attempted to put a flotation device on a child.

Family members told the fire officials that he was swimming on the Sacramento side and may have yelled that he was caught on something before being swept underwater.

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Fire chars grass, trees on American River Parkway

A three-alarm grass fire Monday night on the American River Parkway near Cal Expo burned about 11 acres.

The fire that reached the treetops was driven by a strong wind, which spread embers that ignited small spot fires.

Crews mopped up on Tuesday and were to cut down some charred trees. No structures were damaged, and there were no injuries

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Rafting Gone Wild

 

There were desperate attempts to save a woman in trouble on the water in Sacramento County, but Sunnyvale’s Sonia Rangel, couldn’t be saved from her day in the sun, celebrating her newly-obtained American citizenship near Discovery Park.

The 36-year-old mother, grandmother and bodybuilder recently died during a boating incident in the midst of the often drunken and often disorderly ‘Rage on the River.’

Eleven days later, other fans of what the county’s rivers have to offer are enjoying a very different kind of day afloat.

“Especially after a high stress day it’s pretty relaxing. It’s nice,” said Jan Atkinson of Folsom.

“It’s great to just come out and just forget it all and just relax on the water,” said Elk Grove’s Lisa Andrus.

Directors of Sacramento county’s regional parks are looking to inject the kind of calms river days Andrus enjoys, into big river event days like the Rafting Gone Wild floating fiesta planned for thousands to enjoy July 11.

That’s why they’ve issued an alcohol ban on American River Parkway from Hazel to Watt Avenue, trying to avoid the 12 arrests, boozy brawls and destruction of property that marred the event in 2012.

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Parkway Closed for Eppie’s Great Race July 18

Eppie’s Great Race is scheduled for Saturday, July 18, 2015 along the American River Parkway.

The annual event starts at the William B. Pond Recreation Area with runners racing downstream (West) to the Guy West Bridge.

At Guy West Bridge, runners will transition to bikes and head upstream (East) to the Sunrise Avenue footbridge where they will switch to water crafts and paddle downstream (West) to River Bend Park.

The American River Parkway Multi-Use Trail will be closed from Guy West Bridge upstream to Sunrise Avenue footbridge from 6:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

There will be aid stations set up at approximately every 1 mile to provide support to the runners, cyclists and paddlers with food, fluids, and if needed, medical attention.

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