The Clements Fire Department in San Joaquin County says it has rescued 52 people on the Mokelumne (mo KEL um nee) River in the past couple weeks. That number is typically less than four. Record snowfall has kept the river at a chilly 54 degrees and flowing 6 times faster than normal,. Adding to the danger, Mokelumne Fire Captain Rob Firman says people are out on the water in inflatable toys made for swimming pools.
CAPT. FIRMAN: "Especially with the Mokelumne River having downed trees and branches and snags throughout the whole river, you can lose one of those things really quick…which has been happening."
The San Joaquin County Sheriff's department says it is monitoring the river and if it believes it is un-safe, will notify the Department of Boating and Waterways and then the Board of Supervisors and ask the board's permission to deny river access. Boating and Waterways says this is the deadliest six months of whitewater rafting on record.