Poudre Fire advises residents on recreational river safety


The underpass at overland along the Poudre trail

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FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Due to the current conditions of the Cache la Poudre River, the Poudre Fire Authority sent out a release advising residents on safety measures they should utilize when pursuing recreational activities in the area.

Officials said the floods in September and spring runoff have caused a significant amount of debris accumulation in the river, some of which is below the surface and not visible. This debris coupled with high waters and cold water temperatures has created a hazardous environment.

The river banks in many areas is also undercut and unstable, which can make it easy for people to accidentally fall into the river, added officials — these conditions are particularly prevalent along the river starting at Lyons Park near LaPorte and heading east.

Poudre Fire Authority discouraged the use of inner tubes in these waters.

Additionally the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office recommended the following safety tips:

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return. Leave a contact person and number for people to call in case you don’t return. If your plans change during your travels, leave a note on the driver’s side dashboard of your vehicle.
  • Wear life jackets around water.
  • Stay away from riverbanks during times of high flowing water.
  • Never underestimate the power of the river, especially when it is running high and fast from spring runoff or heavy rains. The river is currently running at over 4,000 cubic feet per second.
  • Be aware of your limitations in the water. Even if you are a good swimmer, fast moving water and currents can easily catch you off guard and other obstacles underwater can knock you off balance in shallow areas.
  • Watch your surroundings, including weather.
  • Carry a first aid kit and know how to use it. Take a first aid course for CPR and basic medical assistance.
  • If caught in a fast-flowing river, rapids or storm water, try to float feet first in a half sit position.
  • If someone is caught in fast-moving water, reach out to them or throw a rope to the person. Don not go in the water yourself.
  • Use a local rafting company with qualified instructors if you plan to be in the river in a recreational watercraft.
  • If your recreational watercraft gets away from you, contact the non-emergency dispatch number at 970-221-6540. Have the color, approximate size and location you last saw it. This will help avoid any unnecessary searches.

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