Front Range firefighters brace for water rescues amid snowmelt

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GOLDEN, Colo. — A heavy mountain snowpack and a late melt is leading state and local officials to warn about possible flash flooding. Rivers and creeks along the Front Range are currently considered dangerous for watersport athletes.

Clear Creek is already four times higher than it was a week ago, according to West Metro Fire Rescue.

West Metro firefighters recently completed a five-day swift water rescue course.

“It’s definitely an issue this year,” said West Metro firefighter and paramedic Dave Dame. “We’re expecting a very rapid snowmelt.”

The Golden Fire Department is also on alert.

“It’s actually a daily conversation around here,” said GFD Lt. Jeff Hulse. “We keep a real close eye on the levels of water within the creek.”

The Problem Solvers have tips from Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) on what people can do to stay safe on Colorado waterways.

“Scout ahead of where you’re going to go … so you know what you’re getting into — what obstacles could be on the river,” said CPW spokesperson Jason Clay.

Officials warn that everyone should wear life jackets and helmets when traversing rapids. Also, experts suggest not being on the water alone.

If a raft or other equipment is lost on the water, it should be reported by calling a non-emergency police agency number. Reporting lost equipment prevents unneeded concern. If somebody sees a lost raft on the water, they may think someone’s in trouble and call 911.

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